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... :)

God's Will? : Celestial Conversations - XVI

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
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First: Celestial Conversation
Previous: Return Of The... King? : Celestial Conversations - XV



God: Hello
Me: Hello God!
God: Hi
Me: Where have You been?
God: Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South India...
Me: Wow! What have You been doing there?
God: Trying to help.
Me: Oh, that's great! I'm sure they need all the help they can get.
God: That they do. But it can get quite depressing being there.
Me: I'm sure it is.
God: The worst thing is getting blamed for what happened.
Me: What?
God: They keep calling it an Act of God. I mean do they really think I would want to make something like that happen, even if I could?
Me: I guess it is a little unfair. But they think that since it happened naturally, You must have sanctioned it.
God: Sanctioned it? Me? Why and how would I sanction something like that? There's a scientific explanation for why it happened. Do they expect Me to bend the rules of science? Even you humans with your disrespect for the law find it difficult to do that.
Me: But you're God!
God: Why do you keep saying that?!
Me: Well, they believe that if you didn't like things like this happening, you wouldn't allow a world to exist where they could happen.
God: Oh? So they think I like seeing over one hundred and sixty thousand people dead astroke, and another hundred thousand at risk from the diseases that will follow?
Me: I'm sure you don't. But what do people know? Anyway. At least you're doing all you can.
God: True. And I got some of my people to help too.
Me: Oh, that's great.
God: Yes. Florence has a lot of experience in this kind of stuff. In any case, she needed to spend some time away from the bottle. Hell's been a bad influence on her.
Me: Ah, yes. You did mention that.
God: I wish everything that was wrong with this world didn't get blamed on Me.
Me: Well, anything we don't do on our own, we think You did.
God: Why Me?
Me: Who else do we have to blame?
God: Good Point. But it isn't even as if I created the planet. Or the universe for that matter. They just happened.
Me: So You keep saying.
God: You don't believe me? See, if I had designed the planet, there wouldn't even be earthquakes.
Me: No? What would You do with the tectonic plates?
God: Oh, that's simple. There wouldn't be any. The whole planet would be a block of iron.
Me: Just iron? Metallurgy would never have taken off if you'd done that.
God: Ok, a mixture of iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, and all the other elements in the same proportions as exist today.
Me: But if the entire mass of the planet was metal, wouldn't there be too much gravity?
God: I'm not sure. Haven't worked that bit out. But even if it were, I'd make the centre hollow to balance that.
Me: And what about soil? There'd be no agriculture without good soil.
God: Well, over a core of solid metal, there'd be soil.
Me: The same kind of soil all over?
God: Why not?
Me: For one, different kinds of plants need different kinds of soil.
God: Okay, then, uniformly distributed across the planet would be all kinds of soil, in equal proportions to what currently exists on earth.
Me: Distributed uniformly? You mean all countries have all kinds of soil?
God: Yup. That way everyone can grow all kinds of stuff and so everyone will be self-sufficient.
Me: But then there would no Trade!
God: Oh. Okay, then the soil would be distributed just like it is now. Anything else?
Me: You said there would be no tectonic plates, and so I guess there'd be no hot core.
God: Right. And so no Volcanoes, no Earthquakes, no Tsunamis, no natural disasters.
Me: But then what about mountains and valleys and stuff?
God: Oh, I'd carve that stuff Myself.
Me: All by Yourself?
God: I'm pretty good at sculpture.
Me: Well even if You could do that...
God: What do you mean if?
Me: ... without a hot core, we'd have no diamonds, and no precious stones.
God: I could embed them in the crust by hand. But what did you mean if?
Me: Even if You got the stones in, what about coal, oil and other fossil fuels?
God: Burning fossil fuels is bad for the environment. The earth I designed, wouldn't have any of those.
Me: But what about power? The industrial revolution would never take off!
God: Oh there's a simple solution to that one. I'd provide power outlets at regular intervals across the planet.
Me: Power outlets?
God: 220V AC, at 50Hz.
Me: You mean 60 Hz.
God: Is this My world or yours?
Me: Oh, sorry. Yours of course. But with power outlets, how would cars run?
God: Batteries.
Me: Batteries?
God: Four AA type.
Me: What?
God: Works well for My remote control cars.
Me: Remote control?
God: Why, is there a problem?
Me: You can't run a real car on AA batteries!
God: AAA then?
Me: No!
God: Well then they'd have to figure out a way of using solar power.
Me: And air travel?
God: Six AA type batteries.
Me: Remote controlled again?
God: Or solar powered.
Me: (I think I know now why He doesn't mess with the world.)
God: Excuse Me?
Me: Umm, All the best with helping out for the Tsunami relief!
God: Thanks. And remember. We could always use more helping hands.



Next: Godparents : Celestial Conversations - XVII

And another year goes by - along with one more month

on Posted by Rajesh J Advani
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Yikes!

A whole month without blogging!

And I've got at least two posts that are nearing completion, and three more ideas that are currently just fledgling posts - started long ago, but ignored ever since.

This "Save As Draft" feature on Blogger is actually a deterrent to blogging. Feeds the tendency towards procrastination. Allows the blogger to loll his time away writing partial blogs never completing any, always coming up with new but incomplete ideas, leading to the slow death of the blog, the child that needs to be constantly fed slowly being deprived of nutrition, wasting away quietly, shrivelling up until it is almost a skeleton, drying up to the bones, crumbling to dust...

From ashes to ashes...

Well. Here's to the New Year and a resolution to never using the "Save As Draft" feature ever. Ever. (Except in case of emergency, of course)



The above blog was written in 12 minutes. (Yes, it took that long. One more would have been unlucky)