Using My Own Words to Discuss Plagiarism
By Becky Hood on March 21, 2012
My daughters are in 6th and 9th grade. I know that every year for the past four years they have had at least one report/project of some sort due during the school year. Sometimes I find out a week in advance, sometimes I find out hours in advance. Either way, I help when I’m needed, but I make them do their own work. (and by help I mean I rush to the store and buy everything they need to complete said project and try to find stuff that will work so I don’t have to drive 45 minutes to the nearest Target) Sure I could draw a better picture. Sure I could write a better paragraph. But it’s not my project, it’s theirs. Even when Megan has had to do the same project Meredith did a few years before, Megan starts over and does her own work. They have to hand in their own work, not mine. They will be graded on their own worknot mine. That is something they have known their entire educational life.
So when anyone tries to pass off someone else’s words as their own, I’m baffled and dumbfounded. “Plagiarism is wrong” is basic writing 101 and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ is basic Commandments 108 (granted it’s not in the Top 5 commandments, it is in the Top 10). And then to insult bloggers and readers across the internet by saying “I am not a writer, and never have claimed to be” is absolutely ridiculous. The fact that you write a blog, by definition makes you a writer. The fact that you are were getting paid by a website for articles you wrote, (and apparently I have to use that term loosely) does in fact make you a writer, the fact that companies came to you and compensated you for writing your opinion of their products or services does, by the very definition make you a writer, a professional writer at that.
I wasn’t even going to tackle this whole issue because clearly everyone and their brother’s college roommate’s next door neighbor’s hot niece has covered it, has sounded off, offered up an opinions and advice. There is not a single word I could add to this that would have any relevance. But then I read Melissa Ford’s post about Right Click Disabling your Blog. In her post she says “I was totally put-off as a blog reader because the assumption was that if I wanted to copy even one word from the blog, I was a thief.” Ok, I get that sentiment. I could see how a person could feel that way, but isn’t that taking a personal choice of the author a little too personally?
My blog is right click disabled. Believe me it’s probably way more inconvenient for me than it is for any of my readers. I can’t copy anything from my own site for myself, I have to go to the dashboard and copy it from there. Pain. In. The. Ass. I can’t even open a link in a new tab b/c that requires right clicking and I bitch at myself when the window pops up that says “Thank you for not stealing my shit”. BUT I did it because at one time there were problems, serious problems between me and my ex husbands. I right click disabled my blog, not based on any kind of assumption that someone would steal my words/photos. (believe me I’m not that good) I right click disabled it based on the knowledge and fact that someone already had. Now, if you read my blog in any kind of reader, my words and photos are not right click protected and you can copy/paste to your heart’s content. (Just be sure and give me credit and link back to me.)
There is always going to be somebody who writes better, who writes more eloquently (like how I used that big fancy word there?) who uses more colorful descriptive words. There is always going to be someone who takes better photos, who lands bigger sponsors, who has more giveaways, who has more readers, more followers. There’s always going to be bigger and better and more popular, and prettier and skinnier, and richer, and has a bigger house, and a nicer car, and better behaved kids, and cooler friends, and a pool, and a flat screen HDTV, and who’s house is always clean, and hair is always done and wears the perfect clothes. And that’s fine… they can live in that world. I choose to live in, and write about mine. I have a hard enough time trying to be me, I can’t be bothered to try and be someone I’m not.
Becky (Ms Batman)
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