“Plagiarism” – Don Charisma’s Opinion

A mutual friend gave me a heads up on my friend Jason’s (A Opinionated Man) recent dilemma with people ripping off his work and passing off as their own. In my “Virgin’s Guide to Promoting a Blog or Website (Ethos – Part 2)” I wrote about “Always be paraphrasing”, which is what most writers do if they want to write a very similar article. All writers do this to a certain extent, ideas are very rarely completely original. Also why not reference the article you were referring to, this is normal behaviour for writers and publishers with integrity. Often authors are happy to have their work shared, if one asks for permission. I recently published a painting – “‘St Georg And The Dragon’ by Petar Meseldzija”, with permission kindly given by the artist.

I wrote my own version of “Women are crazy”, in part inspired by Jason’s post. It’s an interesting topic, and my post was a completely different perspective. I don’t know whether he read it or not, but I did link back to him and say that I was inspired by him. My point it’s possible to be inspired by an idea, and write one’s own perspective. Not to plagiarise someone else’s work.

Copy and paste does make it very easy to “rip-off” something on the internet. People also share stuff all the time.

So there’s an argument on one side that says sharing is the most important thing, and disregard for the original author/artist. Most people aren’t innocent of this in one way or another, many people have mp3’s that they didn’t pay for, for instance.

And then there’s another argument which says that utmost respect should be given to original author/artist. Which would be the person who always goes to itunes to buy their music, or purchased the original CD and uploads it into their itunes.

The law is usually quite clear on breaches of copyright. WordPress has the DCMA mechanism in place, so that writers here can issue a complaint and have content taken down if there’s a breach of copyright. Jason has this avenue open to him.

Warm regards

Don Charisma

PS (George W Bush is my celeb name for this post … for fun you may think up a tenuous connection if you like, please keep it clean or otherwise I may not be able to post)

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Notes for commenters:

Don Charisma Warning Improvised Writing

Comments are invited. BUT you are reminded that this is a public blog and you are also reminded to think before you press the “post comment” button. 

Good manners are a mark of a charismatic person – so please keep comments civil, non-argumentative, constructive and related, or they will be moderated. If you feel you can’t comply, press the “unfollow” button and/or refrain from commenting.

I read ALL comments but can’t always reply. I will comment if I think there’s something that I can add to what you’ve said. I do delete without notice comments that don’t follow rules above. For persistent offenders I will ignore you permanently and/or report you.

Most decent people already know how to behave respectfully. Thank you for your co-operation on the above.

Warm regards, Don Charisma


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68 thoughts on ““Plagiarism” – Don Charisma’s Opinion

  1. Long term success, must involve integrity.
    Like mentioned earlier in this post or maybe in the comments, There is already so much content about almost everything under the sun. There could well be an article out there very close to the one you are going to write next. This makes the grey line that people tread on a huge space that can be interpreted many ways.
    I say.You know full well when you are posting words that are not yours.

  2. Bloggers are people and people can be low creatures. I am having an eventful weekend with just such trolls. I am taking a break from WP for a bit. I appreciate the support and kind words DC, but you knew that. -OM

    1. Dude, you’ve won a place on my friends page and only a few on there. And yes you are right people can be a-holes. A friend used to say to me “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” … take your time we’ll be here when you get back 🙂 warm regards Don

  3. I know one who take an ideas for other blogs and then he write about it like was his original idea. But if you can’t proof that, what else you can do? That’s sad 😦

      1. I think is that kind of person who only think in be famous or earn a lot of money (because of his posts). In any way… I don’t understand why affects me a lot… arrggggg. Thanks for the replay 🙂

      2. It’s OK hun, I see it too, sometimes I’ve seen my topics end up on other blogs, and it’s a bit too much of a coincidence and no mention of my post … the way I look at it is that I’m a leader, and the other person is a follower … without me they’d have nothing to write about, so really they need to learn to think of their own ideas …

        Within that often my readers comments give me ideas, I sometimes give credit, but other times mention them vaguely, not really knowing whether they want front page credit – so that kind of not citing sources can be out of consideration …

        Also I think ideas get mixed and re-mixed all the time, so a lot of stuff just isn’t original … that is just how it is !



  4. When I was designing digital scrapbooking elements and selling them in the U.S. stores, I had some of my designs ripped off. It sucks that you put in the work and then someone comes along and re-brands them in some way.
    I understand Jason’s anger, I really do.

  5. Recent experience with a recipe that I copied parts, from a cake blogger, which were quoted; plus credited the author with name of blog and links back to the recipe. Oh no. that is not enough. Wound up being asked by the author to take it down. Which I did immediately. Then I went on the hunt for what’s going on with internet copyright laws. Ask permission is the best bet. But it’s all so complicated that I am reluctant to post any more recipes.
    And I could still be sued even after taking down the recipe. Oh! the recipe is over 60 years old at least. But her site is copyright protected. Before this, I thought that quotes and credits and links were enough, but it is not.

    1. That does sound a little unreasonable, prudence might suggest best to ask first. Not taking sides, but I’d certainly prefer if someone asked permission before using one of my photos for instance. I did actually turn down someone who wanted to use an award badge for some unspecified purpose, because the award badge was only designed as an award badge. She was a little disappointed, but wasn’t a biggie.

      For recipes, look I’m no expert, but isn’t it incredibly hard to copyright a recipe for cooking ? I mean surely you can’t copyright a recipe for macaroni and cheese … so it’s possible that the person concerned may not have claim to copyright … especially since you mention the recipe being 60 years old … I’ve also noticed on wikipedia for instance that logos for some major brands are listed as not copyrightable because they are simple geometric shapes.

      Also if one removes the http:// from the URL then the other website doesn’t receive a pingback. I often do this for instance with the images that I use from morgueFile.com, because morgueFile.com already has a link on every page of my site via my sidebar. I don’t actually even need to link to morgueFile, but it’s such a good library and for free, I fell I ought to give them something back.

      So look my suggestion to you would be what I said in my Virgin’s Guide to Promoting a Blog or Website (Ethos – Part 2) – “always be paraphrasing”. If you can paraphrase then you can rewrite an article entirely in your own words.

      Do your due diligence and act as best you can, hopefully you won’t have any more problems. The whole copyright thing is a real mess I agree, so look like the rest of us – do the best you can. I have a friend Elaine at foodbod.wordpress.com, I don’t know if you know her, but might be best to ask another food blogger, just a thought … cheers Don

      1. Thanks for all the info on this and suggestions. I am not a techie, so I will check out what you have suggested to read. It turned out, the person in question was an L A lawyer…scary, who writes about cakes.

      2. Ah, I have a rule with lawyers, I don’t argue with them (unless I can afford a better lawyer), sounds like you’ve made a similar choice … Best to arm yourself with knowledge, if you’re as informed as possible, safest way you can be … keep in touch 🙂

      3. Ah, sorry, I forgot to add – my experience is that if you do have a copyright problem, it’s most likely you’ll just have to take the content down, I think people rarely get sued … I blogged about some Toshiba Service manuals, and a guy tim in australia had been forced to remove them from his site. Toshiba made threats, but basically just wanted the content taken off … so my point, try not to worry about it too much, worst case scenario is VERY likely that you just have to take it down … cheers DON

      4. Well, the law here is that even if you take it down, you can be still be sued. I am not worried anymore. I made an error in judgement. With your information and encouragement I am back to blogging about food. Paraphrasing and writing my own material is the way to go. Again, many thanks!

      5. I understand what the law is technically, what I’m saying is that normally in practice the likely worst case is having to take it down … Toshiba corporation isn’t going to waste $100000s of dollars suing someone who doesn’t have the money to compensate for instance … and also could result in bad PR for them if they start attacking someone who has a voice …

        In any case it’s best to do your research, and err to the side of caution … I didn’t post the Toshiba Service Manuals that I wanted to, because I could have been sued by Toshiba, the same as Tim in Australia been threatened with …

        Generally my experience is that the vast majority of bloggers are helpful and generous people, who if you leave them a comment would probably help.

        So look, try and relax and have fun was my only point, and just keep yourself informed as best you can, and try your best not to fall foul of copyright/ownership issues … happy blogging 🙂

      6. Thanks again. All your information and encouragement is really appreciated. I have a good experience most of the time. There are many helpful and positive people.
        Happy blogging to you too.

      7. You’re welcome hun, I’ve had similar issues myself, and it’s always nice when I have someone encouraging so reckon it’s just returning the favour … cheers Don

  6. I follow you- but It keeps telling me I don’t. As when I enter my email: damienrecords@gmail.com – it says email is not valid. YET that is how I get all your posts, which I read them all. So eho knows if I’m valid or not. You do write a lot each day. Anyway, thanks. Brian Pinette

    1. Dude there’s a rumour going around that WordPress are randomly unfollowing people from some blogs. I generally follow via the bar at the top of the screen or via the reader. Please let me know if you’re still having issues, perhaps I need to raise with support.

  7. The Digital Millennium Copyright ACT

    It is DMCA. In days of old, a copyright form was needed for individual music compositions, writings, etc.

    In my years, have copy written over 1000+ musical compositions, words/music etc. I have all the forms in my legal binder with the words, music, etc.

    I have a separate binder for screenplays, photographs, etc. which I own and possess the sole copyright.

    Eventually, I found it easier and cheaper to make “anthologies” which would include over a dozen songs as opposed to having to pay (at one time) $21.00 per song. Then the time of copyright was changed to the author’s life, etc.

    WordPress or no one else can have it “in place.”

    WE, the writer or our legals reps etc have the power. WE empower no one to be on the look out for us.

    If you know your rights have been violated, contact the author of the website etc and tell them to take it down or give you credit. They usually do, when you offer proof you are indeed the legal author and/or possess the legal copyrights.

    Sometimes, when we paraphrase – we do not know how good our memory actually is. OR we are so impressed by what we heard or read, it has touched our soul, holy moly – indeed, we inadvertently plagiarized. Yet we did not mean to.

    So before anyone gets in a huff – if someone takes a few paragraphs from your blog etc., get over it and feel flattered.

    Choose your battles.

    Go here:


  8. As easy as it is to copy and paste a hyperlink into your post, I think there are fewer excuses for ethical writers regarding not crediting an original source. Sometimes I forget where I saw something and then I spend 20 minutes trying to locate it on Google. I would want people to link to my blog content if it inspired their own reflections, so I do my best to give the same courtesy.
    Plagiarism is for high school students not professional writers.

  9. I honestly don’t understand why people feel the need to not acknowledge the original author. I’ll be honest sometimes I’ve lacked in citing sources on my posts especially when I use just a general idea and elaborate on my own, but I always acknowledge other bloggers. Typically I se medical and nutritional websites for my articles though.

      1. Lol why thank you! Autocorrect usually gets most of my little mistakes but man it’s a pain to type on an ipad, at least correctly!

      2. For sure, but occasionally it auto-corrects something wrong … which is annoying if it’s the last word of a text message, and you hit send whilst it’s still correcting it … happened to me many times 🙂

      3. That’s the worst! My phone typically isn’t too savvy on actually correcting my words, only misspelling them even more usually lol.

      4. I know exactly what you mean. I either can’t find something I like to read, or when I do I don’t have the time. Plus it seems I have very expensive taste in books. haha.

      5. Same for me … actually I prefer movies, but that doesn’t help with spelling, I even tried putting the subtitles on English voices/English subtitles … oh well guess I have to keep looking up words on google and hoping my autocorrect works when I need it 🙂

    1. For sure, there’s some leeway allowed no one’s perfect … and one should do one’s best to write and blog with integrity … Jason’s plagiariser just copied and pasted, no credit, which is pretty bad !

      1. I couldn’t imagine how I’d handle the situation if someone was doing that with my blog.

      2. You should be able to issue a DCMA against the blogger, wordpress will force them to take down the content. I think you need to show proof that you are the copyright owner.

      3. Interesting! Good information to know for future reference. Not like anyone’s trying to steal my amateur work at the moment.

      4. How do you go about watermarking? Seriously I feel like an idiot. Do you just go edit your picture and add text onto it? or is it more technical? I usually don’t do pictures for that reason.

      5. In Photoshop I just drag and drop my logo, then turn down the opacity so the logo isn’t “the subject” of the photo … there are probably many ways to do it, that’s just my way 🙂 … Danny does his in the GIMP editor which is free !

  10. Even when you paraphrase, it’s best to attribute the original thought or premise to the author, Don. That’s how I’ve done it for decades. Have a great day, my friend.

    1. Agreed, and exactly what I did in my “women are crazy” post … sometimes though we’ll have read a bunch of sources and ideas chef’ed the whole thing so much it’s basically a new original work … in this case I guess it’s up to the writer …

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