More Plagiarism: Copycat blogs

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
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Things are definitely getting worse.

(But first, a recap - )

So you write a story, it gets emailed around by people, in the process of forwarding it loses your name, gets forwarded anonymously some more, people put it on their blogs/sites, like the story so much that they decide to make a mega-serial out of it without any credit to you as usual, you rant, you complain, sometimes they listen, sometimes they ignore you, sometimes they think you're being an ass, and sometimes you can't even figure out how to complain.

Then people go and adopt this nameless story, and call it their own (Note: You never put it up for adoption) . Change the story from first person to third person, add a name, change a city, and the result also gets forwarded. For a change, though, with that person's name on it. I don't know about you guys, but
that makes my blood boil.

That's just one story. And I thought that was bad enough.

(End of recap)

Apparently, there are people out there who steal entire blogs! I had to rub my eyes in disbelief. Such blatant thievery is quite hard to believe.

Ze Original

Linked in the sidebar to the right, is one of the prettier blogs in blogland. It's called A Walk In The Clouds. The template may have started out based on Blogger's Harbor template, but Megha (the author of the blog) has obviously worked quite hard on it and so it can only be called reminiscent of Harbor, in as much as Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet could be considered reminiscent of your average love story.
Needless to say, the contents of the blog have also been written with just as much thought and dedication and make a very good read.
Megha is also the designer behind templates for blogs like The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog and AlgoMantra 2005.

Ze <expletive deleted> copycat blog

If you had not come across the above mentioned blog R@gZ might look to you like a blog written with good intentions. The lack of any website design skills, however, would be immediately apparent.

Ze comparative analysis

Tag Line:
The lift, starts with the tag line (the title, thankfully, wasn't plagiarised).
On AWITC this says "This blog, much like my life, is a work in progress.." complete with the two-dot-ellipsis-Megha-quirk (snapshot).

On the copycat blog this says "The blog, much like my life, is a work in progress..." (snapshot)

One does begin to wonder which blog he's talking about. And the ellipsis has been changed to the regular three-dot.

Sooooooooo original, eh?

Date Header:
Check the date headers on AWITC. See the little [wiki] superscript to the right of the date? It links to a site that tells you special stuff about that date in history (snapshot).

Now check the date headers on the copycat blog (snapshot).

Notice something familiar? Thought you might.

But this is nothing. Really.
Check the sidebar.

Previous Posts:
On AWITC the section that's usually called Previous Posts on the everyday blog, is labeled Past Thoughts. An original something that makes Megha's blog unique (snapshot).

Now check our esteemed copycat blog (snapshot).

I think you're beginning to get the picture.

Method In Madness:
AWITC has a very unique section in the sidebar, called "Method In Madness" (snapshot).

The pretty little icons you see are original creations of the blogger herself. And the items listed there point to some of her own previous posts. This section, is something you don't expect can be copied. No?

Well, see the copycat blog (snapshot).

Stolen icons. Stolen sections. Stolen post titles! But wait. We'll get to that soon.

About Me:
Most blogs have an "About Me" section. So does AWITC (snapshot).

And like almost everything on the blog, it's quite unique, and practically a work of art. Titled "MOI" (French for "Me"), it's - to put it simply - a list of words (or phrases) that describe the authoress.

Now check the copycat blog (snapshot).

Okay. So he also "loves Archana". Does not live in Boston (if he did, maybe Megha would have killed him by now, hmm? Naah. She's probably too nice). And he can't ride horses. Instead he plays Table Tennis. But still. I mean... really? To use Megha's own words, this gives new meaning to the term "Identity Theft"! Someone who so lacks original thought that they have to copy someone's personality???
Now that's just sad.

And the story still goes on.

Blogs:
Compare the following blogs Phir Milenge (snapshot) and Phir Milenge (snapshot).
And Dhoom (snapshot) and Dhoom (snapshot).
And Swades (snapshot) and Swades (snapshot).

Getting monotonous, aren't I?

Well, compare these two blogs - Sholay (snapshot) and Sholay (snapshot).

One would think, you know, that when one copies a blog, one would at least read it before doing so. Check sentence two on paragraph three, on the AWITC post. "Methinks that my mom considered naming me Basanti". For those who haven't seen the movie Sholay, and don't know about Indian names, "Basanti" is the name of one of the lead female characters in the movie, and is definitely a female name. If our copycat's mother considered naming him "Basanti", I would draw one of two conclusions.
  1. His mom must've hated him.
  2. She really really really wanted a girl.
For Variety:
To give the copycat credit, he did look around for posts to copy. He's also stolen posts from Lazy Geek's blog (check The Terminal (snapshot) and The Terminal (snapshot)), and sites like http://www.idlebrain.com.

There's lots more posts he's lifted, but I'm not as patient as he is. So I'll let you find those for yourself.



All the information I've blogged about above, was discovered by Megha around a month ago and since she hasn't written about it yet, I decided to. In the one month that it took me to write this post, there has been lots written about such blatant copyright infringement. Among the early blogs to do this, was Amit Varma's - India Uncut. Read Plagiarism in the Indian blogosphere. Amit was also kind enough to link to an earlier post by me on the plagiarism of some of my work.

Everyone agrees that stealing material property is not right. If someone were to steal a gold bracelet from you, you'd complain about the financial loss. If someone stole your great grandfather's ring, you'd complain about the fact that it was a family heirloom. But imagine someone stealing your thoughts. How much more personal can theft get? Plagiarism is not about the original authors/artists getting money for their work. It's about ownership of ideas. Your ideas are yours, and no one should be able to change that.

Update Jan 30, 2005: Megha's written a post about this herself. Read Identity Theft.

Update Jan 31, 2005: The copycat has taken his offending blog down. Check out his other blog (as yet empty). Thanks Hawkeye , for the links!

And that's just a tiny sampling of the power of the blog... :)

7 comments:

Kumari said...

Just last week i had received one of my friend's story as a fwd without any credit to him...blogged about that and about your story doing the rounds without your name.
Came to your blog and i must say i am shocked! I had been to Megha's blog earlier and was really amazed by the effort she had put in it...Would public flogging curtail this copycat blogging?
I think i should resort to writing everything in paper and filing it at home :(

Calvin said...

Hi,
Plagiarism certainly is very hard to accept for people who puts in lots of effort to produce something original. And I could never understand, why people, who don't/can't write anything on their own, fail to credit the original author of the articles they copy-paste and forward.
Personally, it gives me more pleasure to mention the post as well as the author, if I happen to like some of the stuff on the net. It makes me as well as the peron concerned happy. And I doubt you lose anything by not-claiming the authorship of a stolen post.
But believe me, for every copy-cat, there is more than one person who sincerely likes ur articles, and I believe we should look at the good reasons to write.

Rajesh J Advani said...

Kumari, Suneet, thanks for your comments :)

Stopping to write just because someone can steal your work, will hurt no one but the writer.

There's laws against this kind of stuff. Megha could, if she wanted, ask blogger to pull down the offending site because of copyright infringement. I believe Amit Varma does have some communication from Blogger to that effect.

And as I've said before, if someone does this again, we can always write about it. Wonder if they'd copy that too... :)

hemlyn said...

His mom wanted to name him Basanti?
HEHEHEHEHE! Shot himself in the foot there, didn't he?

What a git.

Anonymous said...

__||__

Hawkeye said...

I was looking around for the site, but couldnt fint it. Pity. Would ve been fun.

What a joker. I guess some mothers do have em. And you guys wonder why his mother wanted to call him Basanti??

Rajesh J Advani said...

Hemlyn: He he! Yeah, that he definitely did. But isn't it pitiable that he felt the need to steal her family history too?

Anonymous: _||_to you too :)

Hawkeye: LOL! You're right. Maybe she wanted to name him Basanti and raise him as a farm-girl so that the big bad world wouldn't find out about him. :D