Sunday, July 19, 2009

To catch a thief.....we DID!

I awoke early yesterday morning all hot and uncomfortable because I am at that magical age where menopausal heat seeps into your system like a steam locomotive and PUSHES right out of your toes at approximately 4 am. I couldn't sleep let alone get comfortable and the more I thought about it, the more irritating the flames shooting from my cute little feet became. Unpleasant? It sucks! It does a number on your head too. It ain't pretty!

So, it was in this frame of mind that I found myself cooling down in front of a blasting fan with a cup of tea in my hand checking out the recent posts of my bloggie friends. OH, shut up! I can hear you from here! What the hell is she doing drinking hot tea in the middle of a late forties FLASH? I recognize the contradiction. I'm a creature of habit. Tea and 4 am blog reading go together. Oh, who am i kidding, tea goes with everything. It was the first thing I asked for after 23 hours of hard labour and dammit, they brought me one! A cuppa in one hand and a newborn in the other. So why the hell wouldn't it go with menopause??? I'm a thirsty multi-tasker. Irish, Scottish and English flows through my system. for a spot of tea.

Quickly, the heat moved right into my gut when I innocently checked a copyright site (I have since posted it on my sidebar) and found that my own formulated words from a piece I had written just this week had been nicked and used by another blogger, living and breathing (uneasily NOW) in Malaysia. I had seen many visits on my sitemeter over the past 6 months from there, but never thought much of it, because most people who visit my blog don't leave comments. They read and move on with hopefully something to think about. THEY DON'T NICK IT! Needless to say, I felt pierced and violated. I couldn't believe it!!! How could anyone consider owning much of what I've written when it comes from my own essence?

At first I thought perhaps he had stolen just this piece because only one was caught by the copyright site, but I thought I'd check his previous posts, and saw that he had lifted whole posts, as well as bits of pieces I had written as starting points for his own posts. Photos, poetry, prose, even silly Q and A posts were used by this guy. (Interestingly, I surreptitiously learned that much of what I've written does have my own unique fingerprints were easy to see! I didn't know that until I went through Anton's blog! They jumped right out at me! SO, thank you Anton you eeejit.....your immoral behaviour actually enhanced my awareness! funny how that happens eh?)

Tonight, however, he's gone. Oh, he showed up again under a new name and blog site with most of my writing missing though a few still standing like he owned them. But after the pressure of my friends, he high tailed it out of blogland. Again. We'll see if he shows up in another form. Most likely, he will. The HEAT is on him now! I'm cooling my heels.

Plagarism is a more than just a surface blight. It is a complete and utter violation. Immoral and illegal, it is fraudulent action of someone whose morals are despicably missing. Consequently, I have been in touch with an old university friend who is a lawyer with a large copyright firm in Toronto and she is researching internet ownership rights and whether there is a precedence set in the land of blogging. Obviously there have been situations where published articles have been stolen from the media and visa versa, but its unknown as to whether a piece of creative writing stolen from one blogger to another has ever been brought to court. I'm very interested to find out and await her counsel.

In the meantime, I have been in touch with the Blogger folks and have asked them to help me with respect to dealing with the pieces which have been cached under ANTON's blogname. I am incensed that my creative intellectual property will forever be floating out in cyberspace under his name and i can't rectify it.

What started out as a feeling of being alone turned into the most extraordinary day of feeling lifted by a wide ranging group of BEE UUU TEEEE FULLL people who came to my aide. Mike, my very first bloggie friend shared this with a group of us through an email that flew around the GLOBE!!!

Dana, et al.,

It would appear that the blogging community has dealt the blog in question it's death blow. Earlier, the link you provided did not go to that specific post, but the blog could still be accessed. There was just one post - probably stolen as well. I flagged the blog based on your email - your word is good enough for me - and I suspect I was not alone. The blog in question (now just a short time later) no longer exists. It is as it should be. I have no problem with anyone reposting my work as long as three simple conditions are met: it cannot be for commercial use; it must be properly attributed; and it cannot be altered from its original form. If anyone reproduces my work as their own, I get angry. Very angry. More than angry, I get justice - and it appears as though justice has been served.
It's good to see the blogging community working together. Most of us do this as a labour of love - for ourselves and anyone else who finds our words insightful, amusing, cathartic or whatever other value they may hold. We don't (most of us) get paid to do this, but it is work nonetheless. For someone to steal it is wrong on too many levels - that it is illegal is only the tip of the iceberg.
You are a kinder soul than I, Dana. I would not have given (and in fact did not) this so-and-so a chance to remove the plagiarized material... I simply would have hit him or her with everything I had. The crime has been committed - it goes well beyond mere intention or a "little" mistake - we are talking about entire posts!
I have not checked to see if my material (which is copyrighted and noted on my blog) has been stolen in a while. Although it is difficult to be absolutely sure, it looks like my property remains within my control. But thanks for the reminder, it is a serious issue.
My reply....?

Hello everyone.....:)

Blogging most certainly is a labour of love, Mike. You are so right. It is also such a wonderful community of shared passions. So often I am inspired by something I've read, like a jumping off point for my own writing. There is a terrific give and take, and when someone violates that flow of creativity by stealing, it is wonderful to know (and feel) that the community does pull together.

I thank you all for your assistance. I have sent him another email threatening him and making it perfectly clear that I won't sit idle again and let something like that happen. I also told him he should be ashamed of himself.....asked him what the Dala i Lama would think of such sinful behaviour! :) Buddhist my ass!

I did get in touch with Blogger and file a formal complaint. Whatever he has posted in the past has been cached, so they can still follow up if they havent done already.

I wish I had copied the comments from everyone! They were priceless!! I had a few facebook friends nail the guy as well, so I am completely confident tha t he is shaking in his weasley boots today.

Thank you all! I'll post something about it all, hopefully tonight.


I'm off to pour myself a glass of wine and toast you all xxx

Thank you all for you kindness and concern. I can't tell you how grateful and humble I feel. The attention you poured on not only energized my drive to tackle this situation, but left me feeling affirmed as a writer and a friend. Carmi? A very special thank you to you my dear friend. If I may, I will post a separate blog with the correspondance you initiated on my behalf. I can't tell you how much I appreciated your efforts. Remind me never to get on your shit list! haha!

I am actually very fired up and more interested in writing because of this episode. Over the past couple of weeks, I was seriously considering leaving blogging. M y ideas felt stale, and my fingers weren't finding the keyboard as enticing. In fact, I had intended to write a piece this weekend and entitle it "To Blog or not To Blog...." However, this has spurred me on, and certainly made me realize just how important, precious and inspiring this little virtual global village is to me.

A lot of reflections happened yesterday...... good strong reflections on the importance of community, the joy of belonging, the empowering sense of efforts. I may have started yesterday alone simmering in a hot flash with a cup of tea in my hand and a look of horror on my face when I first realized my work had been lifted...... but it sure wasn't long before I was joined by a beautiful force to be reckoned with!

thank you ..... thank you....

Now I have to get a group of 5 beautiful camp counsellors (three of whom are sleeping as new best friends in my basement as I write) back to camp after a two day respite. I've fed, and laundered.....and listened to many hilarious stories... I plan to orchestrate a singsong along the way..... won't they LOVE that?? Little do they know that Muskie has taken over me today.....and she's drivin!

PS. Anton? You out there??? I have yet to receive that email you told Carmi you were sending me. If YOU try to steal my work or anyone else's again, you will be caught. As for what you have already done? Sit tight buddy, I have a lawyer who wants to talk to you.


Carmi said...

Even if you tried you could never get anywhere close to my fecal matter list, Dana, but thank you for getting my day off to a happy start.

The good karma from how we all banded together to deal with this is swirling through me and reminding me once more how good always finds a way to triumph over evil. It's such a joy to be part of this.

We're on our way to a funeral today, so every little bit of goodness helps.

More soon...

Romany Angel said...

Well good riddance to bad rubbish is all I can say. No doubt the little scumbag will rear his head somewhere else but hopefully he's been taught a valuable lesson.

You deserve all the support you got Dana and no doubt you would have done the same for any of us.

Mike Althouse said...

I'm glad I could help. This angered me as much as if my own work was stolen. And, Carmi? He can be a formidable force when he has a little time on his hands. And he, like you, is a good friend.

I have hit the blog doldrums from time to time. I don't have any regular "posting" schedule and I don't visit blogs like I used to, but this incident reminded me how important you and Carmi and all the other bloggers I have relationships with are to me. It was, in reality, an affront against us all. And it has re-energized me as well.

swile67 said...

i write this with relief and thankfulness to the good ones in the blogging community! empowering isn't it! i'm glad the thief was caught!

kenju said...

I concur - good riddance to bad rubbish!! I am glad that I had a tiny part is banishing him.

JanePoet ~ JP/deb said...

What a great example of community, friendship and support. I hope that that little creep has learned his lesson.

Like Carmi said ... good karma.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dana, I came home from being with my Dana ;) (1 week to go with bub)To emails of all this drama unfolding and even though I havent blogged in like for ever, was amazed and appaled by all that happened. Maybe I am really nieve. I had no idea that anyone would do such a thing. I just never cosidered it at all. I love how it was all uneathed and how everyone fought back and won the good fight. I love it and miss everyone here so much.I have to really get back in touch with the comrades of the blogging community because I am so missing out.

Love Shaz xxx

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Awesome to see so many people circling around you and shooting down this thoughtless person. Obviously he's thoughtless since he has to STEAL thoughts. I am so glad you discovered it!!!! (you know they same imitation is a form of flattery, but in this case its a form a plagiarism!

Aphra said...

It is very true that each person's writing is like a fingerprint- noone writes in exactly the same way. I run science experiments and each year we have 700 students doing a report on the same experiment and no two are ever the same (unless they are copying!)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...... A glass of delish vino and a Daisy (Shasta at that)....... Sounds like a recipe for feeling better, to me!


The House on Big Island said...

Anonymous?? Yikes - how'd I do that? - at least I signed my post!

Awareness said...

Carmi....It's now late evening here and the feelings....good karma.... are still very present in me. it was quite amazing....a great boost of good energy and feelings. love it!
I was describing the whole dramatic episode to a friend today and felt pumped by it. But, it was a strange thing to attempt to describe to someone who isn't online much let alone a blogger. I got the sense that they weren't quite understanding the sense of connection nor the severity of the violation.

Gypsy.... I haven't seen him resurface yet, but I agree with you. He WILL be back I'm sure.

thank you for that... and you are so right. I'm 100 percent there. xx

Mike... Amazing how energizing a burst of anger can be... how it can focus and refocus priorities. I was driving back from dropping my daughter and her friends at camp this afternoon, through a truly beautiful part of this country. The sun was out....big clouds high above... all along the river. I had music on and I rolled down the windows and took in the fresh air. BEhind the wheel of my car is the best place for me to gather up new ideas, new combinations of words and mostly to reflect. Today, I reflected on all that I mentioned today in this post... the joy of community and connections and how really that's what matters most.

Karyne... SO empowering. Surprisingly strong. thank you for being there. it means a lot to me.

Judy.... I'm so glad you did too. It was a rush of adrenaline that kicked in or something wasn't it? Thank you so much.

Deb.... GREAT to feel all of that.

Shaz... I know you havent been around but that doesn't mean you have been forgotten! It must've been hilarious to read that long threaded email after you got back from your son's.
You are missed my friend. Hope you get back to blogging soon.

Layla... it was so awesome! Quite honestly I never felt that flattery thing. I was so pissed off that anyone would dare be so blatantly immoral I didn't feel that. However, what I did recognize was that I want to take that next step out of the shadow of being "Awareness" and do something about publishing if at all possible. If that many people on the other side of the globe leave comments on my work, then perhaps there is a wider audience for me to reach through publishing.

Aphra....that is such a cool thing to know. I had no idea how distinctive it could be. Though I've recognized it in some of my fav. authors, I didn't realize the whole writing fingerprint thing filtered down to just about everybody. Thank you for sharing that.

Ian/Shasta.... I knew it was you. :) I'm feeling GREAT! And, on top of the world!

Selma said...

It's such a good feeling when people come together like this. It just shows you that there is a top class blogging community out there with members who actually care about one another.

I was outraged on your behalf and am really glad to have been a part of sorting this fellow out. Power to the people!!!

Marja said...

We went out on Sunday with my daughter and her friend but the first thing I did when coming back was flying to the computer to catch up.
The good will always win in the end. Aroha form NZ

Brother David said...

Going back to our Celtic roots, the first copyright case was in Ireland and St Columba having copied monastic books. St Finian pleaded for a difinitave ruling from the high king - it was this "As to every cow it's calf, so to every book it's copy"


Gilly said...

Didn't have time to post this yesterday, but I am so very pleased it turned out as it did and the little toad is off blogging. Well, until he rears his ugly head under another name I suppose! But not to worry, WE WILL TRACK HIM DOWN!

Sorry I couldn't do much, as I just couldn't get on his site, but others did, and that is what counts!

Awareness said...

Selma...Power to the people is right! Thank you so much for your support. I'm revved up and ready to go again. Today, I'm on the road for work and will have my trusty journal and camera with me because I have a feeling the ideas are just waiting to be captured and transformed into a few stories.

Marja...I was the same yesterday...couldn't wait to get back to read comments and emails. I've yet to hear from Anton, but we'll see.
No matter what, you're right....the good always wins out in the end. This time though, it was amazingly swift! Sometimes you have to wait lifetimes. :)

David.... You know you must've been reading my mind yesterday. I was wondering when copyright laws came into existance. I love this. Thank you.

Gilly, your emails and concern were deeply felt and appreciated. I felt you were right here with me incensed and pumped up with adrenaline too. thank you.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What an amazing journey, Dana..and how everyone rallied and that that guy is gone---So Very Quickly...BRAVO to ALL! I cannot imagine how sickening it must have been to see that your wrirting had been lifted and clained by this person...!
I pray it is all over now and that no one else becomes prey....!
And BRAVO to Carmi & Mike and everyone else...This is more than Heart Warming!

As to Menopause....sometimes drinking something hot cools you off in a funny!

Awareness said...

Naomi.... it would make a great script wouldn't it? :)
As for the hot drink theory? I've ALWAYS believed that.

I was thinking as I was driving today that there are two morals to this saga.... Stealing is a sin. And...

Never mess with a 48 year old woman in heat! hahaha!

Timoteo said...

It seems that Anton had a very liberal interpretation of "fair use."

Awareness said... can say that again. :)

Based on the bullying and silly emails he has sent to my friend Carmi, I don't think he has any idea how much his actions have angered me.