June 15, 2011

I've Been Plagiarized

So today I was informed by a follower on twitter that my review of Divergent by Veronica Roth was plagiarized in one of the UK's most popular newspaper's online site. At first, I didn't want to believe it. I still don't want to, but it is a fact. I looked up the review and entire passages from my review have been put in the plagiarizer's review with no credit to me. Here are some examples... (click any of the pictures to enlarge).


UPDATE: The Guardian has responded to a tweet I sent them and has since removed the review from their site. They were very quick and professional and I would like to extend my thanks to Michelle at The Guardian especially. Thank you also to each and every person who tweeted, commented, DMd, emailed, etc me to show their support.

My Review

 Their Review

As somebody pointed out to me, I even mistakenly typed Victoria Roth instead of Veronica, and the other review is the same.

My Review

 Their Review

 My Review

Their Review 


And as you can see below, my review was posted almost a month before their review was. 

My Review

Their Review

I have written The Guardian an email asking them to remove the review from their site, and I am literally at a loss for words. I wish I knew what exactly I could do, but I don't. If you have any advice, please share in the comments to inform me and the rest of us what we can do to keep our reviews safe. 

The review was posted by a guest reviewer on the site, and I am not sure if The Guardian checked to make sure content was written by that reviewer.

*My blog is under copyright, and all content was written by me.

66 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh!! That is so awful! What were they thinking! Gosh, some people. And I bet they thought they would get away with it too. Thankfully you have a loyal twitter follower that let you know, but still. People shouldn't be doing that.

    -Meredith

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  2. I am so sorry Alex! I have no idea how to help but I'm sending hugs your way. That is awful they should be ashamed of themselves!!!

    -Jaime

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  3. uhhh, wow. I really hope the author of that article is held accountable! Hopefully you'll get a reply soon from The Guardian - I'll be really curious to see what they have to say.

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  5. Alex, I'm so sorry! I can't believe someone would do that! What is wrong with people? I wish I could be helpful and knew what to do, but I have no idea. I hope the paper emails you back and removes the article from their site.

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  6. That is horrible! I'm glad that someone informed you of this. My reviews have been stolen before, quite an extraneous amount from my goodreads account too, but not to the extent of it being put on a high trafficked website.

    I'm sorry to hear about it. It's a good thing that you contacted them. If they refuse to take it down then be sure to contact a lawyer and tell them about the situation.

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  7. What pisses me off is newspaper journalists and critics are always bemoaning how unethical and not professional bloggers are and then they plagiarize a blogger? urm wtf?!

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  8. Wow. That is truly unethical of them. Since I don't know about laws in the UK, all I can say for advice is, keep talking to them about it and keep a level head. Consult an attorney if need be.

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  9. Wow. Just, wow. I wonder what your response from The Guardian will be. I hope they remove the article! It's really unbelievable that someone would do that, and what's worse is that they probably thought you'd never notice the plagiarism...

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  10. They should take it down and then post an apology giving you credit and sending readers to your blog for the real review.

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  11. Uh wow that's ugly! They even copied your typo of "Victoria Roth"!!! I hate that not even b/c Divergent is my favourite 2011 book, but bloggers deserve better than that!

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  12. I'm shocked and appalled! And *Guardian*, no less! I guess no one is safe anymore. And let me just say, I've heard of book bloggers' reviews being plagiarized recently, but this is on a whole different level!

    Do keep us posted - I too would LOVE to know what they say in their email reply.

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  13. Wow that's awful hope they remove it!!

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  14. OMG that's insane! Makes me wonder what else the Guardian has plagiarized. I hope they remove the content they stole from you!

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  15. I totally agree with you, Pam. Excellent point!
    This is the wrong kind of 'flattery.' Thanks for posting. This is an eye opener.

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  16. That's terrible! But it wasn't a journalist who posted the review, it was a guest reviewer, which is no less bad! But I just feel to point this out... It still sucks though. I hope they remove it!

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  17. That's really bad! I hope The Guardian will gracefully solve this. I wonder if other bloggers might recognise some of the other passages as theirs...

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  18. Ugh!! How terrible. WHY is this happening so much lately? But from a newspaper! How can people think they can just take content without permission? I really hope they get back to you ASAP with some sort of proper response. I wonder if there is any way to really protect blogger content? Apparently copyrights on the page don't matter anymore.

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  19. HOLY CRAP! You'd think that posting something with a timestamp on your blog would keep that from happening, but I would be outraged, too. I hope you linked to this post from their comment section. Oh, no comment section, I just looked. Of course.

    yes, I think you should be making a HUGE deal about this since you're right, those are huge chunks of your review practically copy/pasted into that review. I would be LIVID!

    Although, if it happened to me, with my luck, the effing guardian would call me on © infringement for unlawfully reproducing snippets of their site.

    The little guy just can't win.

    I hope you keep speaking out against this. That's just lazy journalism.

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  20. That is absolutely shocking and bang out of order!
    I have just showed my dad who buys the Guardian every day and even he is shocked by this. The fact is that at the top of the review they name someone called Crystal having wrote it!

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  21. Wow! That is shocking. I'm sorry it happened to you. I'm from Ireland, so I'm familiar with The Guardian, and I'm pretty sure the reviews on the new Childrens site are written by kids and teenagers rather than professional journalists.I'm not saying that this excuses what happened at all, but I reckon this was done by an opportunistic teen who wanted to see their name up in lights, so to speak. Still, The Guardian should take pains to double check that the reviews are original. I hope they'll remove it from the site and give you an apology.

    You could also direct your tweet at @GdnChildrensBks - and let them know of the problem that way.

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  22. I'm shocked and wow this passes for journalism now a days.Hugs

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  23. I may be wrong here - so don't shoot me down ... but....

    Isn't it just a page on the Guardian site where readers can post reviews? So this stolen review is posted by an essentially annonymous 'Crystal' not a Guardian journalist.

    And since she changed the form of the words to some degree... even if the Guardian person who ok-ed the post had googled on phrases (and there's no way they'd have time for that) they probably wouldn't have got anything?

    So yes - a bad thing happened - but it's 'Crystal's' fault, the Guardian can't do much about it except remove the post (in office hours)

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  24. I saw somebody on twitter saying the other day that another blogger was just taking posts from goodreads and other blogs then posting them to their site, this seems to be happening a lot lately! There's no way for the Guardian to have known before it posted it that it was plagiarized but they should remove it immediately. (I can only hope)

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  25. Oh wow! I'm really shocked that someone would do that, let a lone a big UK magazine. That's all sorts of wrong. Especially since a reviewer stole your words and turned into their review. I seriously don't understand that at all.

    I think you did exactly what you should have in contacting them and bringing this to light so we can all see it.

    I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.

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  26. I just sent them an irate email. I NEVER do things like that unless I am LIVID, so I guess your story mus have pushed some of my buttons.

    Is it rude of me to implore your followers to send the Guardian a quick reprimand? ;)

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  27. I'm so sorry to hear that this happened to you. I would also be devastated because I work hard on my book reviews (as I know you do).

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  28. My word, that's abysmal behavior by their reviewer. Hope you get it sorted quickly!

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  29. Plagiarism, with typos!
    This is really bad news for The Guardian. They are a great paper but when you invite reviews and content from the public, how do they maintain their quality standards?
    It's a huge worry. While people mean well by posting reviews about a book they like, it's really not that hard to say why you like a book. And if you want to use someone else's words, all you have to do is say My thoughts reflect exactly what this reviewer said: " paragraph goes here" and then you're done. No harm, no foul.

    I just hope this doesn't stop The Guardian from expanding and continuing their YA and teen reviews because of this.

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  30. This is so ridiculous. I would be FURIOUS... flattered too... But FURIOUS!

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  31. Unbelievable. I'm so sorry this happened, but unfortunately it doesn't come as a surprise. It seems plagiarism is all too easy in this digital age. I wish you all the best and a quick and happy resolution.

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  32. Oh my gosh, I am SO sorry. That's absolutely appalling. I really hope they resolve that quickly for you. And I sincerely hope that journalist hasn't done that too anyone else before in reviews-- if you think about it, it's totally possible....

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  33. The Guardian is a legit newspaper, one of the most respected in the UK. I can't believe this got through! They normally have really great children's lit and YA features, but I guess this will teach them to check their contributors are writing original content. You did the right thing by contacting them. They might try to ignore you and in hopes you'll just go away, but keep contacting them because you are completely in the right! I would expect they'd be really embarrassed by it and take it down first thing tomorrow morning, London time.

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  34. Oh no! AND in a major media source. Geeeeeeeez. I am so sorry. Just terrible.

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  35. Wow. I'm shocked. I'm sorry this has happened to you. Keep us updated on what happens.

    StuckInBooks.com

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  36. That sucks, but you must be doing something right if someone saw your review as something worth stealing...

    Just tryin' to find the silver lining in the dark cloud.

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  37. Wow. That's beyond ridiculous, especially coming from a major media outlet. You'd think they'd verify their posts. I'm sorry!!

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  38. This is horrible! I'm so sorry this happened to you, Alex. I know that I would feel like throwing up if someone stole my work and passed it off as his/her own. Grrrr!!! to stupid, plagarizing people!

    And I hope the Guardian takes it down and severely reprimands that reviewer. Maybe Lindsi could send that old lady from BEA after her... ;)

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  39. Wow Alex, I am really sorry this happened to you. How can someone do that? I hope every thing works out. :) I wish I could help, but I am not a lawyer.

    I think they should remove the review. I am sorry Alex!

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  40. Yikes!

    If they do not respond to your email request within a couple of days, send them an official DMCA Notice.

    Here's a link that will kind of guide you through it. http://labnol.blogspot.com/2007/09/dmca-notice-of-copyright-infringement.html

    Sorry this happened to you, sug. That sure was "ballsy" of whoever did that.

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  41. OH MY GOD!! that's---speechless---I can't believe now even us bloggers aren't safe with this things anymore!!!T-T!!!

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  42. THAT'S SUCH BULLSH*T.
    Excuse my french, but I'm PIIIISSED for you. Are people dumb? Do they not think they will get caught? Can they not, you know, WRITE FOR THEMSELVES?

    Jesus. So lame. What's sad is that it's a published magazine. Just makes them look like idiots.

    At least they thought your writing style was badass. So badass they had to STEAL it.

    I hope things get straightened out!

    Farrah

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  43. I don't understand why someone would want to do that with someone's review. It's your own thoughts! Do they not have their own thoughts?

    It's horrible that people feel they can do this stuff. I'm so sorry it happened to you.

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  44. Wow. This is INSANE. Not cool. So glad to hear that someone pointed this out to you. I hope that they take it down and GIVE YOU CREDIT for your work. Shame on the person who stole it in the first place. Keep us updated!

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  45. Honestly? I hope this mag gets what they deserve for letting this person post this review. I'm sure they have a moderator for everything that goes through so someone should have checked all of this. I really can't believe this happened. *Hugs*

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  46. Wow... that just blows my mind. I know this might not help much because I'm sure you're extremely pissed... but it shows how great of a reviewer you are if someone from an extremely popular magazine from the UK took a part from your review to use. Keep your chin up and good luck with this situation!

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  47. What is going on here?! Why is plagiarism becoming a regular occurrence? I can't believe reviewer for The Guardian would think that they wouldn't be caught. This plagiarism trend is NOT cool and it needs to stop.

    Sorry it happened to you Alex. I hope they issue you an apology!

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  48. I can't believe THE GUARDIAN plagiarized your review! I know it shouldn't make a difference whether they're a small-time e-zine or, you know, one of the best-known magazines in the world. But still!

    I'm sorry this happened to you, and I hope they acknowledge that they stole your review and return the credit to the person who took the time to actually READ and write a review. This reviewer, whoever they are, should be so ashamed.

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  49. man, that really sucks. I'm curious as to what they'll say in reply to your email...

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  50. I would like to commend you for your presentation of the evidence though. You did a thorough job and explained your situation clearly. I am fairly certain the review will be taken down, but that doesn't take away the horrible feeling of having your work stolen. Ugh, people stealing other people's work is disturbing! I'm sorry this happened to you!

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  51. So sorry to hear about that!!!! I just recently saw some good posts on protecting yourself--Hope these help for the future:
    From Parajunkee's View:
    http://www.parajunkee.com/2011/06/book-blogging-101-copyright.html
    And these two are from There's a Book:
    http://www.theresabook.com/2011/06/plagiarism-its-not-just-the-bots/
    http://www.theresabook.com/2011/06/plagiarism-its-happend-now-what/

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  52. Wow. Luckily somebody alerted you about it. And what awful plagiarism, to copy passages word for word!

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  53. Hi, Michelle, editor of the Guardian children's books site, here. I have just been alerted to this and have emailed Alex to apologise and to let him know that the review has been taken down. I am also contacting our reviewer to discuss what has happened.

    The Guardian does not commission reviews on the children's books site. We rely on the young reviewers (only children and young adults can join the site) to submit original work only (or, if quoting any segments from other reviewers, to ensure these are clearly attributed as quotes).

    I am now looking at all our procedures to see how we might be able to prevent regrettable incidents like this occurring again. I am very sorry that this has happened. Michelle

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  54. It is super disappointing when things like this happen! It makes me wonder why the other "reviewer" even bothers reviewing if they can't do it on their own!

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  55. That's super sketchy. I'm sorry your review got plagiarized and someone else got credit for it, in a major newsource no less!

    At least they were professional about responding to you.

    Hopefully it doesn't happen again!

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  56. That happens more than you'd think. Next time, ask them for a byline and a fee ;)

    Glad it got sorted out in your favor, Alex.

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  57. You got to feel a little flattered. LOL, I would. Right? It wasn't just some other random blogger stealing your words, but an actual online newspaper. Awesome! Haha. You did the right thing though, in telling them and then they were very professional to remove it. I'm sure whoever wrote it got in some deep dodo or possibly even fired. They should think about hiring you to replace that person. It's not all bad. It's certainly brought some recognition to your blog from that online newspaper! :)

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  58. Sarah Darlington - thanks for your comments about the Guardian's professionalism. Just to clarify, though, the review was submitted by a teen member of the children's books website (www.guardian.co.uk/childrensbooks). Members of the site (and only kids can become members) submit their reviews to be published on the site. They are not commissioned, they are not staff members and so there is no question of hiring or firing anybody.
    We are discussing the matter with that particular member, and looking at how we can prevent anything like this happening again.
    Best wishes, Michelle

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  59. Can you now describe yourself as "a contributing book reviewer for the Guardian"? :)

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  60. Wow, looks like I missed all of the excitement. I go to bed and then I wake up to this, I am so sorry that this had to happen to you. Plagiarism in any form is disgusting and the people who do it so recklessly without a care in the world to who it will hurt or what the fall out of the consequences would be, should be shot on the damn spot. I know that's a little extreme, well it's a lot extreme, but it's how I feel and I'm sticking to it!

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung

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  61. I'm very sorry that you have been plagiarized. It's sad to see people's hard work copied and taken as another's. I don't understand why people do so, but then again nothing in this world makes sense. I'm glad that the magazine's 'review' has been taken off.

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  62. Wow, can't believe I missed all this yesterday Alex. Glad to hear The Guardian has been looking into it, but plagiarism is a serious matter and I hope they do more than talk with the individual who stole your work. It may not be preventable since the reviewer wasn't a journalist with the publication, however something stricter than a talking too seems to be in order.

    That's really disgusting. How lazy are people that they can't spend the time to write their own reviews? And if it's not a paid gig, then why bother writing anything?

    Does the Guardian have a disclaimer on that part of their site stating that they are not responsible for the posts? Without any kind of disclaimer, by allowing these readers to post reviews seems like they're accepting some responsibility.

    Sorry to hear of your trouble Alex.

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  63. Dude that is so not cool! I'm so glad they realized their mistake and took down the review. Plagiarizing is always terrible.

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  64. OMG! that is horrible... thats seriously twisted. Why would you do that to someone especially when its on the net? It obvious that someone can just google the passage and it will pop up... wow... im at a loss for words! IM sorry it happened to you!

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