After everything that happened across the country last week, I contemplated not even writing this post. I didn't want to be the blogger whining about something small and unimportant in comparison to these national tragedies. I almost didn't write this post at all. I almost let it go. However, after talking it over with my husband and several close blogging friends, I decided that I just can't let it go and that I need to at least blog about this situation, even if nothing comes out of it at all.
I had my work stolen.
I had a blogger that I've known for years...someone I've followed on Twitter and subscribed to her blog, someone I've chatted with about books many times -- STEAL MY WORK. Word-for-word, posted on her blog for all to see, with no credit given. And I'm not the only one she did it to. There are others who have become victim of her blatant disregard for honesty and integrity within the blogging world and they probably don't even know it. If your reviews are posted on Goodreads or Amazon, you aren't safe either.
I emailed this person who, surprisingly enough, didn't deny a thing. In fact, she responded back in less than 90 minutes, with an apology and her "answer" to correcting the issue. To tell you the truth I was actually satisfied at that point. She apologized, didn't attempt to make excuses, and then changed the specific post I had been referring to. She even posted a public apology on her own blog the next day. I was content with these actions, mainly because I didn't want a big deal to come of it. I don't like making waves and I definitely don't like drama. We want to talk about books, not someone's ridiculous act of dishonesty.
But, then I started really thinking about it.
I re-read her "apology" and started really understanding the way she danced around what she did. I remembered what she does in her professional life, where she probably preaches about the act of plagiarism being the ultimate act of dishonesty on a regular basis, and then it was brought to my attention how many other people she has done this to, as well as the fact that she's posting to at least two other blogs, using plagiarized reviews, and I just kept getting angrier and angrier. It is not ok. Downplaying the severity of the issue is not going to make it go away.
Before removing her apology post, I had a chance to read through the comments and since she deleted all the critical ones shortly after they were posted, the only ones left went somewhat like this: if people are upset about someone forgetting to credit a source, they need to get over it. Excuse me, what?? She didn't "forget" to credit a source. She copy-and-pasted work from multiple bloggers on a regular basis. Not ok.
Now, I'm not a "big-time" blogger. No one pays me to write reviews and my writing about books is certainly not considered amazing or worthy of publication in any other forum than my little blog. That being said, I work hard on my reviews. I take a lot of time to read books and then attempt to eloquently express my thoughts about them in order to give feedback to publishers and authors and, most importantly, to let the readers of my blog know what books I think they'd like. This person decided to just copy-and-paste the work of others and call it her own -- and in doing all of this stealing, has managed to gain over 2500 followers on Twitter and had amassed quite the blog following, as well.
No one has the right to take my words, no matter how "small" my blog is. You didn't steal my car -- something that can be replaced. You stole my thoughts. My words. My experience with a book. You are a thief of something incredibly personal.
After this woman's public "apology," she blocked the public from seeing her blog unless invited, therefore, not allowing this act of attempting to make up for her transgressions to be seen. How do we know she isn't still stealing our work, as we can no longer access her blog? She has also made her Goodreads profile private, but I made sure to make note of all the friends we had in common, so I can at least attempt to warn a few of them.
I have proof of a lot of it. I have a copy of the posted apology, along with many of the examples of stolen work, even though they're no longer accessible to most of the public now. I'm just not entirely sure what to else to do with it. Maybe nothing. I'm sure she'll never grasp the magnitude of her actions. I will, however, be watching to see if her blog becomes public again. I've blocked her on both Twitter and Goodreads and will be emailing as many blogger friends that I know we had in common, to notify them that their work may have been stolen too.
My lesson in this? Pay attention. There are people out that that can be sneaky, dishonest, and lack integrity. Even teachers. I really hope this is both the first and the last case of plagiarism involving my blog... this is supposed to be a fun method to share books with each other, not some drama-filled process!