Well, here's a new low in plagiarism. Someone lifted three years of posts from "Mermaid's Tale," through half of March, 2012, and put them all up on their own site. Not only do we get no credit there but the name of the blog has been changed and any instance of our names "updated" to Cathy Smith.
It turns out there's a lot of money to be made by lifting other people's blog content, "updating" it, adding ads, the kind that when you click on them you get a share of the profits, and then clicking on them, ad infinitum. It's a little odd to call this plagiarism because content is completely irrelevant. It's the bloggy shell that counts. The blogginess, to coin a phrase.
We won't grace the thief by giving you his name, but since we outed him on Friday he's taken the site down. But then put it back up again. So, in addition to clicking on ad links, he clearly spends a lot of time taking down blogs -- there were a ton of them on his "My Blogs" list. And then putting them up again. This guy made the sloppy mistake of using what's apparently his own name on his copy of MT, which is how we found him. We've contacted Blogger about this, hoping the site will be taken down, but who knows how this will play out. It's not costing us anything, but it is theft of intellectual property, so unacceptable.
Yes, it's risky putting your stuff online, and requires trust that this kind of thing won't happen. There are legal protections, such as the Creative Commons License, which won't prevent theft but does give bloggers recourse when it happens.
But there are also great benefits to blogging. It is an intellectual treat to have the freedom to say whatever we want to say about whatever topic we choose, outside of the usual confines of academic publishing, and to refine a point of view over time. It's especially nice to have regular readers who weigh in with comments or emails and let us know they appreciate what we're doing here. And of course to Ken and me, it is a great pleasure to work with Holly and to have her fine contributions.
So this certainly isn't enough to convince us to stop blogging. But it's pretty creepy.