Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372


                     * * * *  DANGER:  HARD CORE COPYRIGHT TALK AHEAD  * * * *

Mrs. Kennedy, my 7th Grade English Teacher, was known for her tough grading, strict class discipline
and heavy homework assignments.  I dreaded going to her class each day, turning in an assignment and
getting it back with black marker all over it and a grade at the top of the page that I knew didn't reflect the
value of my writing.  Mrs. Kennedy focused on composition and structure.  The focus of my writing was
always and is still, use of the written word to convey excitement, humor, facts, information, experiences
and message.  My 7th Grade writings were my intellectual property and they reflected my thoughts.  The
structure may not have been perfect, but the message was always understood.  Mrs. Kennedy was feared
and respected.  In retrospect, she was wonderful.  She made us write.  I learned that writing is an
acquired skill and the more of it you do, the easier it becomes and the better at it you are.

The lessons I learned in Mrs. Kennedy's 7th Grade English class have stayed with me throughout life as
the foundation of writing, that wonderful ability of the human species to express ourselves in language
and through the development of the written word, commit our thoughts in a way that they can be shared
with many others and preserved over time as ours and our alone.

"Ours and ours alone", or "if I created it, I own it" is the theory that caused the government to promulgate laws to help us protect our writings and other creative expressions known as Intellectual Property and preserve the right to use our creations  to the writer and the writer alone

One of Mrs. Kennedy's class lessons covered copyright.  YES, in the 7th Grade English class, Mrs, Kennedy
taught us about copyright law.  I can recall also having a class or two in later years in high school about
copyright in classes that covered Social Studies classes or civics and government structure.  Sure, that was
a few years ago.  However, I raised 5 children and I always monitored their homework assignments and can
recall that my children also used text books that included lessons about copyright law.  One of the lessons
that was always clear was that, when a person writes something, they own it and and they have immediate
copyright protection for that writing.  They don't have to do a thing.  The act of creating an original writing
gives the writer copyright protection. 

Humans are smart.  When we find a short cut to achieve an end, we use it.  One of the most valuable,
used and over used features of the Internet is the ability of a person to "cut and paste" content.
When writing an article, as in a blog or comment to a blog, writers have been known to take short
cuts.  If they have read something interesting or relevant to what they are writing, rather than draw on
the information and use their imagination to write an original paragraph or two or ten, they will simply
"cut and paste" a snippet, a few words, of copy from an article that conveys their message and then
link to the original message.  Fine.  However, that method takes the reader away from the
page and puts the reader on someone else's page, perhaps never to return.  Links are good news,
bad news.  They provide a road to more information, but may also divert the reader to another web site.
The choice is, write or link.  We all make these choice daily. 

1.  "Copy and Paste" is expedient:   Definition - Based on or marked by a concern for self-interest
rather than principle.
American Heritage Dictionary.

2.  Active Rain points: 
        Points for an article published.
        Points for comments made to an article.
        Points for comments received about an article.
        Points for photos published.

3.  Arrogance:  Members who plagiarize believe that the benefit to themselves has a higher order of importance
than the harm done to the entity who created the intellectual property.

4.  Disdain for the law.   The copyright law doesn't apply to them or it only applies of they get caught and then
only if the owner of the intellectual property is willing or able to enforce their copyright. 

5.  Google Juice.  The member posts content written by other writers to feed fresh content for the Google
spiders in the hopes of receiving better rank on the search engines.  OR, the member posts plagiarized content
with links from to their other sites to enhance the rank of their outside blogs or web sites. 

THERE ARE NO EXCUSES.  So, when an Active Rain member is caught with copied content on their page, there is no excuse.  They copied it from another person's publication, pasted it on their own blog and received all the benefits as though they had spent the intellectual energy to create the content themselves.  The claim that it was an "honest mistake" doesn't wash because the very act of copying and pasting content belonging to another is dishonest in the extreme.  Even if a link back to the writer is included, that doesn't excuse the dishonest act. 

We learned that lesson in 7th Grade English class.

ACTIVERAIN COMMUNITY GUIDELINES:  Respect copyright. Only upload content that you have the right to use.

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Broker Nick
South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc. - Coconut Creek, FL
Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service

Do people on Active Rain actually cut and past other Active Rain members posts? Seriously

Mar 28, 2008 02:26 PM #49
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Nicholas.  Indeed they do.  Several have been discovered and their material "red starred".  Unfortunately, the content stayed online.

Karen.  Thanks.  I believe the message is getting out.  I see less and less of this plague.  But, it will continue.

Julie.  Indeed, it would help.

Mar 28, 2008 11:59 PM #50
Marilyn Katz
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - Westport, CT
ABR, e-PRO -

Lenn- I agree that we shouldn't have to plaster our sites with a lot of warnings, just to keep others from breaking the law.  Individually created material is automatically copyright protected and those who choose to steal it will probably do so, with or without warnings.

I have quite a few town pictures, on my website.  I've occasionally been asked by others if they could publish my pictures on their materials.  I've turned them down, saying if I let you put my pictures out there, then others might lift them and ultimately I'd be the one who would have to prove they are mine to use.  I've then be asked why I don't just put "Copyright© Marilyn Katz" across them.  My response is similar to yours.  Why should I have to mess up my pictures because there are dishonest people out there?

Mar 29, 2008 03:55 PM #51
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland


The burden to protect our copyright should not be onerous on the copyright owner.  The law is there.  It behooves the lawbreaker or speeder or burgler to obey the law. 

Do we have to sit in our homes with a loaded gun to protect our property.

I agree completely. 

Mar 30, 2008 03:20 AM #52
Pam Dent
Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse
Lenn you are absolutely right.  It come under cheating and we all have known since kindergarten that cheating isn't allowed.
May 03, 2008 03:14 PM #53
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Thanks Lenn for reminding us all!

Sep 28, 2008 07:05 AM #55
Betina Foreman
WJK Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY

Dear Lenn,

Thanks for a fantastic post. You are the bomb!! I wish you would allow reblogging of your post. Your topic is so close to my last post they could be related. Thanks again!


Oct 06, 2008 11:45 AM #56
Kathy Carson
John Stewart Walker, Inc - Lynchburg, VA
Realtor, Lynchburg, VA, VA Homes - Lynchunberg,Bedford, Campbell

Lenn - I read this originally when you posted it and I was a new Active Rainer.  I'm glad AR brought it back for us to review again.  Are reprinted emails with no writer identified also plagiarism?  I get very confused because I will recieve an email sent to a group of people and then see it reprinted in a blog the next day.  The points go up and the google juice is feed.  I only post my original writings even my lists and the REALTOR Info!

Thanks again for teaching us all!

Oct 29, 2008 11:22 PM #57
Bob & Bonnie Horning
Mount Joy, PA


It's funny but my very 1st post was plagiarized. I thought it was a corporate generated piece that I had rights too. I then ran into the green faced guy from the photo I used, at a corporate meeting. Someone made a joke about him looking better and not so green... and it hit me... it was the guy in the photo I used. It was only posted for us to see as an example. I repented to the Lord and also to the guy I plagiarized. I was very embarrassed. And it was all because I didn't know what to post and cutting and pasting was an easy way to get started. I intended to go back and delete it but he insisted to keep it posted, he didn't mind and found it funny... he would even go home and look it up. Sometimes plagiarism is the most sincere way of flattery... when you face the plagiarized person and confess. I wonder how many people ever run into the person they plagiarized???

In case you missed it...

Great post... don't plagiarize!... Bob



Oct 30, 2008 12:08 AM #58
Retired Notworking
Tallahassee, FL

There are many lessons our 7th grade teachers (and others) tried to teach us. Respecting someone else's copyrighted material is a form of showing consideration for others.

Oct 30, 2008 12:15 AM #59
Lilo Clacher

Hear, Hear!

I had an agent in my own Town, copy and paste my whole home page of my web site. Including the hyper links. I can't believe that someone would have the nerve to do such thing. I called her and told her that if she would not remove the contents with in two hours I would turn her in to our web site provider.

She did but all she did is take out and change out some words. I created my home page and spend  days and hours on my content.

Great day everyone


Oct 30, 2008 12:42 AM #60
Diana Bakker Fahmie
Express Florida Realty, Inc. - Hollywood, FL
Dade, Broward, & Beaches

Kudos to you, Lynn, for such a timely article. In the age of quick emails, text messages, and cut and paste, many don't even remember how to write, much less respect the work of others. Having had my work stolen, I understand first-hand how it feels to be the victim: violated - the same feeling you get when someone physically steals something from you.  It's rampant and it needs to stop. Thank you for bringing this to the attention of so many via ActiveRain.

Diana Bakker Tonova, Realtor Associate, Express Florida Realty, Inc. (Miami/Ft.Lauderdale)

Oct 30, 2008 12:51 AM #61

Thanks for thepost. I love stand up, straight forward people. I type my monthly newsletter and it is about my thoughts and opinions as well as what is going on in the market today. I have found "my" info (and opinion!) on others websites which means someone from my newsletter list is forwarding it to another agent. I just keep going forward and keep my head held high, hoping one day one of their clients mentions something about an article they supposedly wrote, and the agent will give them a quizzical look and hopefully be found out! For now, I will keep hope alive and keeping changing the real estate world one person at a time!!!

Oct 30, 2008 01:18 AM #62
Scott Perry
Jireh Business Information Solutions, Inc. - North Huntingdon, PA

Now, now, insensitive of you!  We've been told by a certain presidential candidate that it's good to "spread the wealth".  So shouldn't that extend to the "wealth" of information we find on the Internet? *sarcasm*

Kidding aside, you raise some great points in your post.  Amazing how many people out there feel that they have the right to hijack someone else's content just because it's not "under lock & key".

Oct 30, 2008 01:30 AM #63
Dan Magstadt
Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc - Lake City, FL

Good info!! thanks for the post!


Oct 30, 2008 01:47 AM #64
Peggy Otto Finnegan

Thank you for a great article.  Hopefully the people that need it will read it!!!

Oct 30, 2008 02:17 AM #65
Michael Loeb
TGC Financial - Port St Lucie, FL

Great Post...

So.. let me get this straight.. if I create something it is mine, and no one has the right to take it for their own use, or to allow others to use it as they see fit.

Can we also apply this to wealth that I have created for myself?  What is the protection against someone coming in and taking what I've created and using it for their purposes or to give it to someone else?

Someone who would do that would also fit under your definition having Arrogance and Distain for the Law.

Thank you for defining ownership of what one creates so close to election day.  I think you've shed some light on what is at stake.




Oct 30, 2008 03:31 AM #66
Chuck Capan
REMAX River Cities - Moline, IL
REALTOR Licensed In IL. - Moline Homes Quad Citie

Lenn thanks for the post.  A couple of comments about schools and copyrights.  My sister is a librarian at a high school / middle school.  She is known as the copy machine cop.  Can you believe TEACHERS seem to think it is OK to take a book over to the copy machine?  Or take a CD or DVD over to the burner and run off 20 or 25 copies?  Or how about students who make a video for a class project but choose to use copyrighted music for the sound track.  Yes I know You-Tube is full of flagrant violations...a mistake made over and over does not make it right (or legal).

Oct 30, 2008 03:51 AM #67
Yvette Chisholm
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Rockville, MD
Associate Broker - Rockville, MD 301-758-9500

Every profession has people who are an embarrassment, who take short cuts, or don't care about rules.  People hire real estate agents to lead them through complicated transactions - because they trust them.  Copyright infringement does not inspire trust.  Good post Lenn!

Jan 08, 2009 01:27 AM #68
Dan Quinn
The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate - Silver Spring, MD
Dan Quinn

I remember the days as a young boy, when I would have to ask the librarian's permission if I wanted to use the copier.  The librarian would review it to see if it was suitable to copy and met the copyright restrictions.  Today, we have software and attorneys to do the reviewing for us!

Oct 22, 2009 09:58 AM #69
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