• Gene Brancho

Write Your Own Stuff: Plagiarism Rampant Online

Plagiarism has always been an issue, but in today's world it's getting even worse. Wikipedia defines plagiarism as the "representation of another author's language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions as one's own original work."

Everybody knows that stealing someone else's property is wrong, and that goes for stealing their published work as well and passing it off as your own.

In some instances is a direct copyright violation.

You wouldn't go into someone else's driveway and steal their motorcycle, so why would you go to someone else's website and steal their story?

Plagiarism is a common problem that is often the result of a lack of knowledge and skills, and is viewed as highly unethical.

The consequences of plagiarism can be personal, professional, ethical and even legal and plagiarists are being caught at an increasingly high rate. Once accused of plagiarism, a person will most likely always be regarded with suspicion and repeat offenders even could have worse consequences.

When it comes to websites, it's particularly rampant. The web is dotted with hundreds of thousands of websites and it's difficult to track copyright violations and it is usually the author of the original content that finds the problem and takes action.

You can't simply go to another website and copy their content, then paste it into yours and hit the publish button; but, believe it or not, some actually do that.

Web hosting companies have made it a point to devote time and energy to curtailing this practice as best they can. They will take action as soon as a potential violation is reported to them, and several of them come with consequences, including the most popular web hosting company in the U.S., GoDaddy.

GoDaddy has rules put in place that are very similar to the way the rest of the hosting providers do; and Go Daddy doesn't tolerate repeat offenders and will remove their websites permanently if one is a repeat offender.

A particular instance happened here locally in Beaufort SC in 2019, when a local website ( plagiarized an article from another local website,

The action was reported to the alleged offender's hosting provider, Go Daddy, by the owner of ExploreBeaufort.

When contacted and filing the report, Go Daddy responded.

Here are three [redacted] screen shots of the correspondence with Go Daddy, that have been provided to me for this article.

The first shows the complaint.

The second shows Go Daddy receipt of complaint.

The third shows action taken by Go Daddy when they found it to be a legitimate complaint.

The website that committed the alleged copyright infringement was subsequently removed from the internet for 9 days, until the website owner complied and removed the plagiarized content, and Go Daddy confirmed that the content was deleted.

Now, sadly, the ever-so-humble author of this article could not reach out to the owner of ESPB for comment because he (yes, third person reference) has been blocked from contacting the owner through Facebook.

This was done when ESPB was sold to the new owner, and the new owner removed all of the paid advertising from the website without refunding monies to dozens of local businesses, and then subsequently told everyone that the seller moved out of town (which is another untruth) but that's reserved for a later story that will be told in its absolute entirety.

Bottom line here....don't plagiarize. You'll get caught and you'll look bad; and you may even lose all of the work you've done.

It's just not worth it.

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