Dear Plagiarist/Vile Wretch/Scumbag

Update: On Tuesday, August 9, the stolen and mangled articles I linked to in this blog post were removed from the sites associated with the grishina email address. I suspect this had more to do with the copy of the letter I faxed to Google AdSense than to the letter I sent by email to the perpetrator (with copies to all and sundry). I will write a blog post soon about what I did — and what steps I would have taken if this step had not worked. For now I am just pleased to see that a letter does work (power to the pen!), and relieved that it was not necessary to hire a battery of lawyers to achieve my goal.

 

To: grishina@theaddictiontreatment.info *

Copy faxed to Google AdSense Violations.

Additional copies sent to: The New York Times, Toronto Star, my legal representatives in Canada and the U.S., Access Copyright, The Writers Union of Canada

Subject: You are stealing my work. Please stop immediately.

Dear Grishina:

You have posted at least two of my blog posts on two of your 50 or more websites. You have riddled my text with links to Google AdSense ads and other commercial entities. It is my understanding that when unsuspecting people come to your site for information for their problems or answers to their questions and click on one of those links, you get a payment.

I don’t imagine you get paid much for each click, Grishina, but whatever you do earn from these articles of mine is more than I have earned from them—and it took me days and days to create them: thinking, writing, revising, researching, selecting the exact right words and phrases to communicate what I wanted to say. All you did was set a computer to work, crawling the Internet for articles that might fit into one of your “topical” websites, copying the articles, replacing every fourth or fifth word with a happenstance synonym so that plagiarism search programs won’t find you, stripping off the name of the author, and then posting the resulting text as if it were owned by you on one of your many sites.

You have posted the articles you have stolen from me on at least two of your websites that purportedly offer information about writing and publishing. You have stolen additional material for those sites from dozens of other writers and bloggers as well.

But that’s just the beginning, isn’t it? You have also stolen the writing that you have posted on other of your sites to attract people who are looking for information about such subjects as:

You have stolen from magazines, newspapers, community group newsletters, online health sites, and hundreds and hundreds of other sources. Every single piece you stole was written by a writer – some of us professional, some not. None of us gets paid well when we create information that is directly useful to others, and most of us from whom you have stolen do not get paid at all.

You have chosen our articles to steal because of the key words in them that, when posted on your site, will help you rise to the top of search engines when people are looking for answers to their problems – some of them life-and-death problems – so that more people will click on the ads you have inserted into our work and earn you a few pennies.

“Plagiarist” and “thief” are only two of the words that apply to people like you.

I am attaching screen captures of just two pages of Google searches that I have found this morning with your return email address on them. How many clicks from all over the world have they provided you today? What you have stolen from me may add up to mere pennies in your pocket, but I’m sure the return on what you have stolen from all of us together is more significant. And even if you are earning no money from us, you have still plagiarized our work, and that is theft.

Here is one paragraph from a post on my Militant Writer blog that you have transformed for your use:  This is your version at http://canyoupublishabook.info/the-author-as-publisher-the-militant-writer/

It looks unpreventable to me now that except they take up the sideline manufacture of weaponry or maybe bath salts to sponsor themselves, the major publishing homes are going down. There’ll surely be a part for niche publishers in future (literary presses that concentrate on poetry or maybe esoteric fiction amongst them, teetering on the edge of ending as they constantly have, and non-fiction homes that focus on such restricted regions as the plants and creatures of Paraguay or maybe the struggles of Planet War II), however for almost all mainstream fiction and non-fiction book writers, autonomous publishing will shortly end up being the norm.

This is what I originally wrote, at http://maryww.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/how-much-more-do-you-really-earn-when-you-self-publish/

It seems inevitable to me now that unless they take up the sideline manufacture of weaponry or bath salts to subsidize themselves, the major publishing houses are going down. There will certainly be a role for niche publishers in future (literary presses that focus on poetry or esoteric fiction among them, teetering on the brink of expiration as they always have, and non-fiction houses that specialize in such limited areas as the flora and fauna of Paraguay or the battles of World War II), but for the majority of mainstream fiction and non-fiction book writers, independent publishing will soon become the norm.

Here is an example of an article you have stolen from The New York Times and posted, slightly changed, on your “Early Signs of Lung Cancer” site at http://earlysignsoflungcancer.info/costello-loses-battle-with-lung-cancer-thechronicleherald-ca/

Billy Costello, who ended up being an undefeated light welterweight champion in the mid-Nineteen Eighties regardless of not putting on boxing gloves till he was Nineteen, died June Twenty Nine in Kingston, N.Y. He was Fifty Five. The cause was lung cancer, said his woman, Dolores Costello.

The original, on http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/02/sports/billy-costello-who-won-light-welterweight-crown-dies-at-55.html?_r=1

Billy Costello, who overcame a troubled youth to become an undefeated light welterweight champion in the mid-1980s despite not putting on boxing gloves until he was 19, died Wednesday in Kingston, N.Y. He was 55. The cause was lung cancer, said his mother, Dolores Costello.

Here is one from The Toronto Star, republished on your “What Is High Blood Pressure” site at http://whatishighbloodpressure.info/reducing-salt-no-cure-all-new-study-suggests-toronto-star/

A recently published assessment implies there’s no indication that temperately cutting back on the quantity of sodium in the every day meal plan — not just salt from the shaker though also the stuff poured in processed meals — decreases the danger of developing heart ailment or perhaps dying before the time.

The regular study by British scientists working for the Cochrane Partnership, a non-profit organization that takes a second look at the indication after medical care, published in the American Journal of Blood Pressure on Wednesday concluded that lessening salt does result in a slight decrease in hypertension however had no effect on coronary disease.

Compare to the original at http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1020928–reducing-salt-no-cure-all-new-study-suggests

A newly published analysis suggests there is no evidence that moderately cutting back on the amount of sodium in the daily diet — not just salt from the shaker but also the stuff poured into processed foods — reduces the risk of developing heart disease or dying before your time.

The systematic review by British researchers working for the Cochrane Collaboration, a non-profit organization that takes a second look at the evidence behind health care, published in the American Journal of Hypertension on Wednesday concluded that reducing salt does lead to a slight decrease in blood pressure but had no effect on cardiovascular disease.

Plagiarism is theft, Grishina. I have a copyright notice on my blogs, but even if I didn’t, you have stolen what I have done. I insist you take down my writing from your sites immediately and never steal anything of mine again. I have copied this letter to my legal representatives in Canada and the U.S.A., as well as to the Canada Copyright Licensing Agency and The Writers Union of Canada.
Thank you for your immediate compliance.

Mary W. Walters

______________

Note: many thanks to my on-line friends on The Writers’ Union of Canada listserve, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards forum, the authonomy forum, and readers of this blog, who helped me figure out who was doing this and why after I found my mangled text on-line. Special thanks to ABNA super-sleuths tvguy who found the perpetrator’s email address and showed me how to find his ISP, and Simon N Schuster who led me to this link: http://rising.blackstar.com/how-to-send-a-dmca-takedown-notice.html.

* The email I sent to the email address that the plagiarist puts on his “Privacy Policy” page does not work, by the way. The emails are returned with a “permanent failure” notice. Quelle surprise.

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13 responses to “Dear Plagiarist/Vile Wretch/Scumbag

  1. I’m wrecking my brains to think of a name for people like that but I fail to get beyond LOWLIFE !

    Too righ you’re taking this legal, Mary!

    • Mary W. Walters

      Yeah. I’ve been through “scumbag,” “lowlife,” “scum,” “scuzzbucket,” and finally decided to change it from “scumbag” to “vile wretch” just because I’m trying to attract serious attention here. But I still like “scumbag.”

  2. Well done, Mary! I’ve send this around to all my colleages at LlinkedIn, as an example on how to act in case of plagiatarism.

  3. Excellent job. Mary! I harbor concerns about college students, graduate students, law students, and their ignorance about the wrongfulness of this practice. I blame the education system for failing to set standards for integrity and failure to emphasize how wrong it is to do what “grishina” and its ilk have done: steal the creative words and works of another.

    • Mary W. Walters

      We need to speak out about it constantly, constantly. It’s not going to stop, but we need to always remind people that it should. If we just give up because it is so prevalent, it will seem even more acceptable to the next generations. I don’t care if people steal my entire blog posts and repost them (although I much prefer that people re-direct readers to my pages) as long as they give me credit. Credit and a link are all I ask. :)

  4. Great post. How did you originally find the offending articles?

    • Mary W. Walters

      Hi, Jennifer,

      I came upon it by chance. I’m going to write a blog post — I hope to have it up by the end of Sunday — on how it all happened, what I did, and what I learned about what I’d have needed to do next if I’d had to take it farther.

  5. This is scary stuff. I thought identity theft was bad enough but reaping from the work others have sown is just worthy of a “burn in Hell,” in my opinion.

    How did you discover your “mangled text” the first time? Just out of curiosity.

  6. You go, Mary!

  7. Good for you on catching him–and taking him to task for his behavior!! Thank you for including your letter so we can see how it’s done.

  8. good on you for tackling this scumbag

  9. Thanks for a very educational post, and congratulations for stopping this particular scumbag. Your examples and description of the plagiarist’s M.O. are most enlightening and make me wonder how widespread this kind of thing is…I’ve seen a lot of pieces on content mills that looked queer, and that randomly-replacing-words trick…which probably done by a bot or something…might be the reason why.

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