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02 December 2013

How do you stop wholesale copying?

I have come across instances of plagiarism before, both professionally and personally. It seems to be endemic. Two of my blogger friends, Cinematters and Songs of Yore, dealt with it when their posts were lifted without so much as a by-your-leave. In the latter case, I was also the person who spotted the similarities and informed the blogger. 

But while I have the usual admonition on my site that what I post on my site is my own writing, and anyone who wants to quote something from my posts is free to do so as long as they give me credit, and provide a link to my site, I have never really gone about looking to see whether anyone has stolen my thoughts and ideas.

So it was a more than a shock when I was trawling the web and came across a site which has posted an entire post from my blog without asking for permission, giving me any credit, or linking to my blog - it's not just a couple of paragraphs here or there, but the whole post including the title and the little collage of flowers that I used! In fact, he /she was brazen enough to post it under his own name. (I took these screenshots for proof that I wasn't just dreaming this happened!)
Check out the name of the blog on the top, and the 'Posted by' name at the bottom of the post.
Check out this link - this post was published on April 18th, 2013.
Further proof, if proof is needed

Here is another screen shot:
Now check out my post on songs of remembrance which was posted on April 5, 2012.

Now I wonder how many of my other posts are making the rounds of the Internet under someone else's name...

I have posted a comment on the post asking him to remove the post completely. If he/she won't, what is my recourse? Any one know?

This is enough to make a bad day worse. :( 
You think the above was bad enough? I just posted a paragraph of my post on character archetypes, and guess what? There it comes up, same blogger's name (he is bmmann instead of bombaymann), different blog! This one is called Filmy India, and the idiot has even used my Blog's title and the little tea cup logo. Only, he/she/it hasn't figured out that I had hacked my blog's html to customise it, and so 'Conversations over Chai' is bleeding all over the page.
I suppose the question I asked earlier '...how many of my other posts are making the rounds of the Internet under someone else's name...' is answered. Though I'm scared to actually search for paragraphs from other posts - who knows what I have uncovered? For all I know, this chap has many more such blogs, each with a different post from a different blogger. Or many posts from each blogger, because I cannot be the only one targetted. 

My headache's just gotten worse!


  1. I am not surprised Anu, I do not think it is possible for us to keep a continuous watch. About three years back I had posted a comment on a film blog, the post was dedicated to Mohammed Rafi. I happened to visit this blog because I noticed this persons comments on Greta and Madhu's blog. I noticed that she had listed a song from Toofan Mein Pyaar Kahan with a screen shot of Ashok Kumar the film's hero, the film's heroine was Nalini Jaywant. My father played the villain in this one but this film remained in the cans. Thrilled that there was a DVD of this unreleased film I posted a comment. At that time I used to link to my food blog while posting comments. One day I saw a comment on my food blog which was unrelated to my food post. It was a plea from the blogger to visit her blog, she informed me that this blogger on whose blog I posted the comments had liberally stolen from her post on Mohammed Rafi. In fact this aggrieved blogger is on my blog list, her blog is Cinema Corridor. Like you she has done an entire post on how this copy cat blogger stole from her. Well what can one do?

  2. Lovely post! Made me giggle and somehow nostalogic........
    My favorite characters are Rahimchacha,the heroine's saheli(Nazima etc), hero's sister(Farida Jalal & Baby Farida etc), 'village belle'(always like Nimmi :) ) ,Vamp-my pick is Helen and Nadira.
    I wish to add some more to your list- The church father(Abhi Bhattachrya),Mother-in-law(Lalita Pawar),Blind man(Manmohan Krishna).

  3. I remember that one, Shilpi, because Nivedita posted a comment in Madhu's blog as well. :( And that was paragraphs. This is the whole blasted post! Not even the title of the post has been changed. I took some screen shots after I published this post and added them here, just so *I* have a record of this.

  4. Ah, yes, Abhi Bhattacharya was always the Father, wasn't he? :) Lalita Pawar is there in many incarnations - evil MIL (are there any other kind in Hindi films?), evil stepmother, etc. Check out my post on filmi maas.

  5. Anuji, I share your outrage and admire your restrain. You are a professional writer/editor and have
    trained yourself in attributing any writing that is not your own to its source. Lesser mortals are not so trained, at least not yet. I think your mature response reflects this realization.

    I began following blogs about eight months ago and one of the first that caught my attention was SoY’s
    post on plagiarism by couple of Harvard students. By the time I saw it that blog had been closed for comments. I nevertheless did send a mail to AKji. It may not help but am reproducing below part of that (paraphrased) mail.

    “Times have changed. Even Harvard had to fail nearly half of a 280 strong class for plagiarism: http://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-students-in-cheating-scandal-to-withdraw-2013-2.

    “It is easy to blame the new generation or the technology. Personally I think the percentage of
    population today going to colleges is larger, resulting in a student body parts of which would not have come to college in earlier days (I am not saying that they should not, just pointing out a change that requires time before everybody is able to make adjustments). Likewise internet today is allowing many to think of themselves as ‘authors’ who could not have dreamed of being one earlier. These students and such ‘authors’ then take short-cuts. Otherwise they think they may not survive.

    “You may want to take a look at some mechanisms described on the following sites that could help prevent a recurrence: http://www.dailyblogtips.com/blog-plagiarism-qa/ and http://www.problogger.net/archives/2012/10/01/5-simple-online-services-for-checking-content-plagiarism/.

    “And if you plan to invite guest posts, you may also want to take a look at this: http://www.problogger.net/archives/2013/04/30/dont-accept-guest-blogposts/.”

  6. :) Sure I will

  7. Canasyaji, thank you for your sympathetic comments to me. Unfortunately, I have seen people who do not need to copy, merrily plagiarise copy without an iota of guilt. To me, that smacks of sheer laziness. And professionally, I have sent copies back with the plagiarised copy highlighted, and the url of the website from which it has been copied. Mind you, these are my clients I'm talking about.

    Being in the field, my sympathy for these people is next to non-existent. The only reason I sound restrained on the blog is because I have been brought up to be polite. :( And besids, losing my temper is not really going to help, other than give me a bigger headache than I already have.

    Thank you for those links you provided. I think I should be a bit more proactive about checking to see if my articles are being copied. :( :(

  8. Oh boy, the audacity of these people amazes me! Will they ever learn to be honest? Do they like lowering themselves to the point where they have to lift other people's writings and pass them off as their own? Does the word 'honesty' have any meaning for them? Do they have no self respect at all? Have they no shame? I do hope someone is squirming awkwardly in his or her seat right now as he or she reads this post and learns that his/her plagiarism has been exposed.

  9. I doubt anyone with the audacity to do such a thing on such a massive scale will feel shame enough to squirm in his/her seat. :( It's been a very upsetting day. I have found two posts of mine on two different blogs (though obviously the same person), and now I keep wondering how many more of my 200-odd posts are floating out there under different identities.

  10. What's interesting Anu is that these guys have not even bothered erasing the active links! If you click on the third line word "Songs of waiting" in this Bombayman's blog, it directs you directly back to Conversations over chai!!
    The trouble is, as long as there is no deterring fine for this type of behaviour, it's bound to go on. All one can say, in a positive light, is that you got lifted because it was good!

  11. I didn't know that, Yves; I was so upset about this that I didn't bother clicking on the links. Come to think of it, it is not that strange - they have left my banner there, and the name of my blog, so why not the links as well? :(

    As for being good, yeah, well, I know they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I'm not feeling very flattered at the moment. I feel violated, if you can understand what I mean. :( :(

  12. Anu, we were discussing this a couple of months back too, remember, over at my website, where I'd written an article on just this? On how plagiarism just doesn't seem to be anything to fret about, and how widespread it's become? The instance Shilpi talks about was the one I mentioned too, though I'd forgotten Nivedita's name and Cinema Corridor.

    I cannot fathom the depths of besharmi to which people can fall, to calmly and without a qualm resort to plagiarism. Don't they feel the slightest guilt (yes, maybe they were never taught that it's wrong to steal)? Don't they feel even nervous, that someone will find them out? Doesn't it worry them that legal action may be taken against them? Copyright infringement is an offence, after all.

    I have no idea what could be done, though. I suppose one could file a lawsuit, but it would be too much of a bother, no? :-(

    Oh, this is giving me a headache too. And disgusting me no end.

  13. Here we go again, Anu.
    This might help in Google put the fear of God in him/her.


    Here is how Google set cracking in my case.


    Hope this helps.

  14. Yes, Madhu. Funnily enough, I remembered that discussion as well when I was working my way through this yesterday. I remembered that incident because the lift was so brazen and the defence so weak. The apology was one of those non-apologies as well. :( Besides, Nivedita and I had interacted (after this incident) on Baradwaj Rangan's blog as well.

    I think, today, there really is no such thing as besharmi. Seriously. I also think that many people operate under the fallacy that what is on the 'Net is 'free' and therefore just there for the plucking. Remember I told you how my clients send me articles which raise my spidey senses, and when I Google their sentences, it is quite often the first or second result that shows up with a link to the original article? They are that blatant and that lazy about it.

    Filing a lawsuit is expensive, bothersome, and in the end, of no use. Because, right now, I spotted two blogs, which are carrying two different articles of mine. Who is to say the chap doesn't have any more? And we can (perhaps) stop the ones we know about, but he can lie low and then pop up with two other blogs. :(

    As I told Yves, I feel violated. :(

  15. Anu, here is the direct link to state your case to Google.

  16. Update:

    I just received an email from the first(?) chappie. I had left a comment on his blog saying that this was my post, and could he please remove it from his blog? And this is the email I got in reply (emphasis mine):

    Bamr Mann 09:22 (1 hour ago)
    to me

    "remove this post from your blog.''

    As an aquarian i always respect you; your wish is my wish also;--it is gone!

    Perhaps I should post a comment on the other blog as well asking for it to be removed?

  17. Update:

    I just received an email from the first (?) chap. I had left a comment on his blog asking him to remove the post and I got this response:

    Bamr Mann 09:22 (1 hour ago)
    to me

    "remove this post from your blog.'' (This was part of my comment.)

    As an aquarian i always respect you; your wish is my wish also;--it is gone! (This is his response. If you note, there is no apology or anything. But at least he is removing the post, and I suppose that is the best I can hope for.)

    And yes, it has been removed. I checked. Now perhaps I should post a comment at the other blog asking for my post to be removed, and see what happens?

  18. Update:
    I just received an email from the first (?) chap. I had left a comment on his blog asking him to remove the post and I got this in response:

    Bamr Mann09.22 (1 hour ago)
    to me:
    "remove this post from your blog." (this was part of my comment)
    His response (emphasis mine):As an Aquarian, I always respect you; your wish is my wish also;---it is gone!
    (If you note, there is no apology whatsoever, but he is removing the post, and I suppose that is the best I can hope for!)

    And yes, he has removed it for now. I checked. Now perhaps I should post a comment on the other blog as well, asking for my post to be removed, and see what happens?

  19. Thanks for that link, cinematters. I will bookmark it for future reference. And I'm sure some of my readers, who also have their own blogs, will find it useful as well. As of now, the first chap has removed the post; let me see if a direct request will work on the second fellow (who, I think is the same guy) as well.

  20. Looking at the general content of both the blogs, he/she seems to be a "chronic content farmer", and by its very implication a content parasite, so its best you flag it to Google and they will summarily nuke the blog. Go ahead and do it.

  21. Nalini Ikkandath22 January 2015 at 11:36

    One of my favourites is from malayalam films, modern ones, a tea-shop owner. Most often it's Mammukoya. He said that he has done the role 42 times, after having turned down at least as many more offers. The quintessential "chayakadakaaran".

  22. I thought chaayakadakkarans were still there in Malayalm films? Okay, maybe not in the urban stories that are being told these days...


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