How Much Plagiarism is Too Much?

By
Real Estate Agent with MCVL Realty

There have already been many great articles written here on AR about plagiarism.  My question is: how much is too much?  I am not judging the staff here at AR, but I think they are overlooking the potential seriousness of these agents' actions. 

I'll admit it, I'm a rat!  I recently reported two members of AR for plagiarism.  I work too hard on my posts to have someone steal them from me.  In one case the member basically took a long list and cut and pasted half of the items and descriptions (word-for-word) to form their article.   The post was stripped of points but remains on the site.  I also reported another member who had copied entire articles word-for-word from another blog without even a hint of credit to the true author and then added some of their own words to the article.  They did this with several posts, so I flagged the first 3 that I found.  I also brought the crime to the authors attention and he has stated that the problem has been dealt with (not my business, so I didn't get into it).  These posts remain on the site with no notice that their points have been removed.  

  1. Isn't AR opening itself up to liability by being notified of a criminal post and not removing it from THEIR servers?  I know they are protected against a lot of things through the agree we enter into with them, but once brought to their attention, I think they are just as guilty as the parties that committed the crime in the first place if they choose to do nothing more than place a small little icon next to the post.
  2. I'm all for policing our own here, but if there is no result, then what is the point?  The members weren't penalized anything except for the few points they never deserved in the first place - They should be punished if not banned forever.  Am I being too harsh?  I do believe in forgiveness for those that don't know any better, but what about more well established members who have been on AR for a while now and know better - do they deserve a second chance?  Do they deserve a third?
  3. I don't know what happens after a member is reported, if anyone knows than please enlighten us all.  I would be interested in knowing if the victim is notified or what is being done to prevent the same offender from doing it again. 
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Rainer
119,269
Rob Robinson- Lehigh Valley PA
Bertrum Settlements (Title & Abstract) - Allentown, PA

Some should be booted.  I haven't seen that.

Some have lost points, but have no idea what communique AR gave them.

The repeat offenders are the one's that bug me the most.

Jul 20, 2007 06:03 AM #1
Rainer
51,935
Christina Ethridge
The North Idaho Dream Team powered by SKE Realty Group - Coeur d'Alene, ID

It is up to the imposed upon people (the one who's content is stolen) to take legal action, no one else.

AR has done what they can without becoming liability for the content on everyone's blogs.

Jul 20, 2007 06:04 AM #2
Rainer
32,203
Daniel Bates
MCVL Realty - McClellanville, SC
McClellanville and Awendaw, SC
it seems to me that if it's on their server and available to the public then they still remain partially liable - not a hair I'd like to split in court if I were AR, do we have any civil attorneys here that can way in?
Jul 20, 2007 06:08 AM #3
Rainer
22,935
Allison Werner
To Be Announced - Middletown, NJ
Hi Daniel, I agree the copied posts should be taken down, especially when they are benefiting on google from copying and pasting other people's work, and adding their own "about the author" at the bottom, when the same exact article is published elsewhere on the web with the real author's byline, but it adds just enough "juice" to add to their SEO.
Jul 20, 2007 06:37 AM #4
Rainer
202,960
Mary Warren
Las Vegas, NV

I think plagarism should be "strike 3 you're out" on AR.  Give them a warning, strip the points for it with the warning; warn and strip again require them to delete the article; but if it's done a 3rd time that person should never be allowed to blog on AR again.

There are those unbelieveably that do not know that plagarism is wrong...I find that hard to believe but I've been told it more than once.  I also think that bloggers who sign on to AR and don't ever blog should be booted off AR too, there are like 512 agents in LV who have signed up for AR...only a dozen of those blog at all and some of those not regularly.

Jul 20, 2007 06:39 AM #5
Rainmaker
527,404
marti garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type...

 Daniel, the simple and obvious answer to your question is that any plagiarism is too much! The problem is with so many members and so much new content being posted each day, it's almost impossible to catch everything.

 As a moderator of the marketing group, if plagiarism is shown(source provided) we simply block the member from posting again in our group. I realize that doesn't address the legal issues you brought up but... it helps to prevent it from happening again by repeat offenders.

Jul 20, 2007 07:33 AM #6
Rainer
147,934
Marc Blasi
Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Hi Daniel-

As Marti just commented: "any plagiarism is too much!".

I also Moderate several Groups - if I catch someone stealing / copying the work of others they are blocked, period.

I don't bother with an explanation email - anyone that is stupid enough to steal wouldn't care anyway!

Jul 20, 2007 08:23 AM #7
Rainer
32,203
Daniel Bates
MCVL Realty - McClellanville, SC
McClellanville and Awendaw, SC
Thanks for the info Marti and Marc - I'm glad y'all run a tight ship.  Are you notified automatically when a post is flagged if it is in your group or does that only go to AR support? 
Jul 21, 2007 02:14 AM #8
Rainer
147,934
Marc Blasi
Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Good Morning Daniel-

If a post gets flagged - good or bad - the notice only goes to AR.  Then they decide if something will be done.  They are VERY good at taking care of the garbage!

Jul 21, 2007 02:35 AM #9
Rainmaker
527,404
marti garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type...
 Hi Daniel, as Marc said, the flagged posts only go to the AR gods but we(moderators in the marketing group) read pretty much everything posted and try to keep out the way off topic stuff and just block spammers as they appear.
Jul 21, 2007 04:41 AM #10
Rainer
70,376
Caleb Mardini
Bellevue, WA

Daniel,

  1. Some members have been booted, or locked out for continuously posting plagiarized content. 
  2. Some members have faced large point deductions.
  3. Some have simply had the points removed for the posts in question.

Actions have always been taken based upon:

  • Whether the member has been notified before or not.
  • The egregiousness of the offense.
  • Whether or not the member see's the problem and has agreed to correct it.

There are some other issues around this:

  • Often times members have permission to repost the material in question.  In those cases we do not remove the content only the points.
  • We've received notifications of plagiarism, only to find that the ActiveRain blogger was simply re-using their own material.
  • In some cases we just haven't gotten to it yet.
  • While we've removed a lot of plagiarized content, we've never received a proper DMCA request which is the established method this to be handled.  We will however continue to remove plagiarized content where we see we can do so.
Jul 23, 2007 06:00 AM #11
Rainer
119,269
Rob Robinson- Lehigh Valley PA
Bertrum Settlements (Title & Abstract) - Allentown, PA

Caleb, thanks for the explanation.

I like straightforward, concise answers.

I don't give them, but I like 'em :^)

Jul 23, 2007 08:29 AM #12
Rainer
143,026
Brad Carroll
Dakno Marketing - Knightdale, NC
Real Estate Web Designer
Daniel, great point. Some of my post have taken me hours to write and research. It's frustrating to see someone come in and just copy and paste with no effort. By the way, this post has one of the best headlines. I thought to myself. "where is this guy going?" I just had to click!
Jul 23, 2007 08:42 AM #13
Rainer
29,185
Carolyn Dubrofsky
Charleston Your Home - Mount Pleasant, SC

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness." by Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Jul 23, 2007 11:57 AM #14
Rainer
44,495
Christopher Pike, 803.727.7800
Keller Williams® Realty - Columbia, SC

Daniel- Great post. I'm not a great writer so what I do write I don't want someone else taking credit.

Diane- I like the quote, and look everyone she gave credit.

Jul 23, 2007 02:12 PM #15
Rainer
32,203
Daniel Bates
MCVL Realty - McClellanville, SC
McClellanville and Awendaw, SC
Diane - "Every minute you plagiarize you lose sixty seconds of originality." - Daniel Bates
Jul 24, 2007 01:45 AM #16
Rainmaker
33,630
Bob Wilson
Access San Diego - San Diego, CA

Zero tolerance!

Call them out, but the the AR do-gooders will step in.

Sep 17, 2008 10:25 AM #17
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Rainer
32,203

Daniel Bates

McClellanville and Awendaw, SC
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