What Plagiarism Looks Like

Well, it happened again. I received an email from a friend about someone who has copied some of my stuff. Over the years, people have copied my text, photos (which is why every photo I post now has a watermark), and even my anecdotes. More than twenty-five times. I’ve always taken the high road, emailing them and explaining that:

  1. I write these things myself and don’t appreciate them being plagiarized.
  2. I won’t threaten them with toothless “legal action”.
  3. But they should take it down or attribute it to me because it’s the right thing to do.

But frankly, I’m tired of the effort of the high road. I’ve been thinking about how to handle it all day today, and I think my best idea is to post it. Post my original, as well as what I think has been copied, and let the readers sort it out.

Irony? This person’s site has two separate copyright statements on their blog. Irony indeed.

Here’s a link to their page, posted May 1st, 2012:


And here’s a link the page from this blog, posted January 3rd, 2009:

        – http://blog.jackmtn.com/seven-points-for-beginning-bushcraft/

I’ve never corresponded, met, or heard of this person until now, but I’ve got a pretty good idea where they came up with the ideas for their 7 points.

Also the quotation from Mors Kochanski was something he said while he was visiting in the fall of 2007.  It wasn’t published, except for in our student handbook (page 4), but wasn’t copied correctly by the site in question. If they’re going to plagiarize, at least get it right! What that original quotation actually says:

This is not wilderness survival. It’s fundamental knowledge of what it means to be an educated human.

What do you think? You be the judge. I’m just annoyed.

Note to bloggers; I’ve got no problem if you want to reproduce something I’ve written. A while back I even changed my copyright from an “all rights reserved” to a “creative commons” for this reason. If you want to use something I’ve written, please do so. Just attribute and link it back to me. You don’t even need to ask. Just don’t take my ideas and words and pass them off as your own. That’s not cool.

Blog, Rants

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • I’ve even had the same problem with a couple of my posts – and I’m nowhere near as prolific a writer as you are.
    I emailed them and they changed a couple of sentences and then put a line that it was based on my blog – I only found out as it appeared on a site I followed.
    I’m moving in favour of no-copyright of things I write on the web and also trying to collate my content into some cheap ebooks.

  • It’s annoying, but part of the web culture. I’m tired of the effort it takes to be polite. That’s a great plan about the ebooks. Once you get them done post a link – and maybe offer them on a print-on-demand option as well for those of us who are without electricity for long stretches of time.

  • In a entertaining twist of fate, his automated blogging software now pulls a “What Plagiarism Looks Like” link automatically into the page because you link to it from here ^.^

  • Ryan Penman

    Makes you wonder how much of his blog is plagiarized. With all the effort he used to change it up, would have been just as easy to write as an elaboration piece based on your ideas.

  • Thanks for the heads-up Richard.

  • Agreed, Ryan, not a lot changing was done. Thanks for the comment.

  • I guess I am lucky since this has never happened to me what I know off or my writings is just not that good =)

    If someone writes something good I usually just post a link to it or ask the author permission to post what he has written, but for some it all about their egos.

    Good thing you named and shamed hi because I found this on his blog and it made laugh ;-)

    (C) Karl Colthup, 2011, 2012. Except as provided by the Copyright Act 1968 (Aust.) & the Berne Convention 1896, 1979, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the Author.

  • Dang. My entire wilderness career came from me plagiarizing Tim Smith… The only thing that could make this better is if he changed his blog to private after getting accused publically… And he was

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