Our favorite friend/writer/raconteur Gordon Davidescu told me yesterday someone at LiveJournal stole one of his GO INSIDE Magazine articles and republished it there without our permission. Here is Gordon’s original article. Here is the theft and here is the evidence of the theft captured in a screenshot for future posterity:

Stealing from Gordon Davidescu

Here are some other examples of stolen original articles from GO INSIDE Magazine and it never stops to conquer me how people and companies cut-and-paste content they do not own and falsely claim copyright ownership by republishing our work.


  1. There should be an online class about “Fair Use.” I suspect it wouldn’t make a difference, but the violators probably wouldn’t attend.
    I’ll borrow little snippets of content for news reporting on the subject, commentary, or doing a review. I never take the whole text of a work. I always limit my quotes to a few lines to make a point or give the flavor of the original.
    I always worry about pictures. Sometimes it’s hard to know where the line is. I always try to limit their use to reviews or news reporting on the blog. Sometimes pictures are necessary for a review since they convey the idea in a way that words often cannot. Even then, there are free publicity photos that one can get a license to use.
    I’m surprised at the number of lazy people. I’d rather read what someone thought about an article (and have a link to read the original), than have someone repost content that I can read elsewhere. Why should I read a blog that’s only lifted articles when I can read them at the original site which is usually of better quality.

  2. Is stupidity a legal defense nowadays, Dave? Let’s ask Chris, he’ll know!
    I understand your point. I understand people today don’t understand legal restrictions for copyright protection.
    Your way of quoting inspiration is completely on point and honorable.
    Copyscape sounds interesting. Do you pay them?

  3. Dave! — Ha! I agree with Carla. I love your impersonation act to crush Plagiarism. Fab! Perhaps you’ll become Gordon later today and do justice in his name?
    Carla — I remember reading about that! What stupid-crazy people we have in this world!

  4. Hello Dave!
    Yes, I did notice her publication date was Halloween — oh, the horror!
    I don’t know how Gordon found it yesterday.
    I’m sure he’ll tell us.
    Thank you for taking up arms to protect us!

  5. David, I just found your blog today, and I really enjoy it.
    Regarding Miss Chloe, the dictionary definition of plagarism states that the content must be “copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work.” As stated above, that isn’t the case here.
    I wonder if anyone approached Miss Chloe directly and asked her kindly to link to the article instead of pasting the entire article into her blog. It seems that might be a more effective and lower impact way fo resolving this so-called problem.

  6. You can’t take someone else’s content and put it on your own site, emaw_kc, because it is a copyright infringement as I clearly state in my original post.
    The Plagiarism issue discussed in the comments is another article I am planning for a future post and I thank you for clarifying the difference for those who may be confused by the terms of the ideas we are discussing here.
    The issue of stealing Gordon’s work is a copyright problem: If you took a Stephen King novel and placed it on your site but gave him credit as the author, you would still be in big legal and ethical trouble.

  7. If anywhere was a home for copyright infringement it’s places like Live Journal and My Space. It’s sad that so many people don’t realise that just because they bought the magazine or book doesn’t mean they own the copyright and therefore have no right to reproduce the work found within it.

  8. and I’m a little embarassed as to how I found it – I actually used the a9 search engine to search for my name. that search engine also covers blogs. the blog came up….

  9. I don’t practice in the intellectual property area, so my knowledge of “Fair Use” is fairly limited. There is a good website of information that can provide some guidance at http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/index.html.
    The factors considered in “fair use” cases according to Stanford’s fair use site are:
    – the purpose and character of your use
    – the nature of the copyrighted work
    – the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
    – the effect of the use upon the potential market.
    See http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/9-b.html#3
    It is interesting to note that one of the factors is how much one takes and if one takes the heart of the work. The authors of the Stanford website suggest that “less is more.” If you take the whole work, it might be considered something other than fair use. There are exceptions, of course, i.e. parody, which is beyond what we are discussing here.
    The Stanford work also suggests that adding value is a factor a court will examine. To add value requires creating new information, new insights, or understanding. If you copy a whole work and don’t do anything to further society’s understanding, it probably isn’t “fair use.”
    I’m going to add a large disclaimer here: Since I’m not an intellectual property attorney, none of this information should be considered legal advice because I am not qualified to answer questions in this area. Please check with the counsel of your choice for your situation and fact patterns. The above should only be considered to be educational in nature. It is also a rough overview and should be considered incomplete.

  10. The law might hold a 13-year-old less accountable than an 18-year-old college freshman.
    It’s interesting that the subject came up because there were arguments in a recent Indiana court of appeals case where a student was injured during a school play. Both sides argued about the applicability of an adult standard of care to a 17-year-old.
    It seems that different standards in Indiana apply to 7-year-olds and under, children 14 and under, and those 14-years-old and up. The legal precedents were originally based upon biblical concept that less responsibility is assigned to younger children.
    A brief overview of the concept can be found here: http://indiana.typepad.com/blogs/2005/12/standard_of_car.html
    I’m going to raise a question.
    Should the parents of a 13-year-old who infringes a copyright be responsible for the child’s actions?

  11. Hi Chris!
    Ooo! I love your questions and information…
    I didn’t know Indiana had such an age-stratified concept of responsibility for minors. Your link brings up more questions than it answers. Excellent!
    My answer to your question is: “Yes, the parents should be held responsible.” There has to be some kind of accountability somewhere for the physical and intellectual misdeed of minors.
    If not, I can imagine some parents using a “my minor child did it, not me!” defense in court in order to escape willful and considered violations of the law.
    Wrongs must have a predictable method for being set right if society is to blindly thrive and if no one at all is responsible for the conscious and deliberate acts of minors then anarchy in the elementary schools will become the roots of the decline of our civilization.

  12. Very true. There was a case in Gary, Indiana just the other day where a 10-year-old child making counterfeit currency with the knowledge of his parents was arrested after passing a $20 bill at his school and giving false cash to his friends.
    The parents admitted to police they knew their child was copying and printing money using a color printer, but thought he was just “playing.”
    The decline is already happening when parents fail to stop their kids from breaking the law.

  13. Chris!
    What wild stories these parents weave in the threads of their children!
    Too often discipline of children has been given over the school system instead of inside the home. Schools are not set up to teach proper morality and situational behavioral choices — that’s a lifelong all day and all night event — and our schools are already too busy teaching arithmetic and reading during the daylight hours!
    Understanding the law can take temperance and understanding — but knowing in your bones the difference between doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing should be every parent’s main purpose in life in guiding the rightful notions of their children.

  14. I’m really sorry that I copied-and-pasted your article to my LiveJournal. I really didn’t mean to steal it or anything like that. I found it on Google and just thought it was really interesting. I didn’t know I had to ask for permission, I thought I could just leave the authors name, and it would be okay. I am sorry, please reply back.

  15. That’s too bad, as I had plans to put snippets of a particular book up on my blog, saying how much I enjoyed those certain passages… So it’s okay if I wrote a paper and quoted the book rather than the entire book…
    Frankly if I wrote something and was given credit for it at another site, I might be flattered depending on the comments about it from that blog’s readers…

  16. suki —
    This isn’t about snippets of a book or an article. This is about copying and pasting an entire piece and republishing it elsewhere without permission of the author or the publisher of record.

  17. Yeah, that kind of stealing is terrible, Carla. It takes a lot of effort to thwart those thieves because they always come back and just re-code their code to match your code. It’s easier for them to change than it is for you to feed them phony images.

  18. Firstly, I admit, I did trip over my own shoelaces as regards the eBay pics. (Doh!)
    Secondly, as you agree in your reply, maybe you should have asked Yahoo for permission, but I understand why you didn’t. The point is, most copyright infringements of the type we are talking about in this thread, don’t hurt the copyright owner one bit. But I agree with you that we shouldn’t lose sight of the principle of copyright and ownership. We should definitely tackle large scale copyright theft where it is having an effect. The trouble as always, is where do you draw the line? Going after one kid on livejournal is like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut, after all. Basically, as you said, most of the time it’s flattering to see your stuff used on other sites. The Net is all about sharing and discovering new art/literature/music/whatever, and that is probably the most important thing of all.

    1. We do live in easy “copy and paste” times, Lillian. The hardest part is teaching young writers and students what you can and cannot use and quote without attribution to the source text. Google really blurs the link between public domain and private intellectual ownership of text because their returns are raw and oftentimes without Copyright context.

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