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I've been plagiarized. Now what?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by moonlight, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. moonlight

    moonlight Member

    Yesterday I'm in the doctor's office waiting for my turn. To pass the time, I pick up a copy of a locally produced magazine that focuses on our region, and I stumble on to a story about a person I once wrote a feature about.

    As I read on, the quotes begin to sound familiar. Then certain graphs do the same. By the time I finish the story, I am sure the quotes and some of the text have been lifted right from a story I wrote about two years ago.

    After the doctor was done (you ever serve time, Doc?) I stole the magazine on my way out the door. I raced home and dug out my story. Sure enough, I found almost all the quotes and some of the paragraphs in the magazine article were word-for-word what I had written.

    My question: What do I do now?
  2. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Show it to your supervisor and let him/her take it up the chain. That's what I did when it happened to me four years ago. I laid it on the boss' desk. The offender was out of a job within eight hours.
  3. Prepare to give a beatdown.
  4. Bill Horton

    Bill Horton Active Member

    Follow Moddy's advice first, then follow it with Sunshine Scooter's advice.
  5. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    Don't go expecting the guy to get fired. I've had writers at two major dailies rip me off -- not just a phrase or two, but flagrant cut-and-paste paragraphs -- and neither resulted in a firing. More likely scenario: a heartfelt, cookie-cutter apology letter.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Had that happen to me too -- when I was working at the small daily, by the bigger daily next door.
    Showed the evidence to my boss, who took it to his boss, who did nothing because they weren't quotes....
  7. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    moon, so you still work for the folks you wrote the feature for?
  8. moonlight

    moonlight Member

  9. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Then take Moddy's advice. They own the story, it's their copyright that's been violated.

    I was asking because a friend of mine had this happen recently on a freelance piece, and the publication he wrote it for wasn't all that supportive about going to the mattresses on his behalf. We always give the 'go to your boss' line here, but much harder when you don't really have a boss.
  10. Did you call the cops? Fill out a report? (I think you mean your copy's been plagiarized) ;)

    I imagine it's a sucky feeling to have that happen. I'd be pissed. Then again, I don't know that it's ever happened to me. What does that say about my writing? ;D
  11. happened to me a few years back

    our editor called their editor

    their editor spoke to the reporter who blatantly stole crap from me

    the guilty party said, "I saw it on the internet, so I thought it was OK."

    this is a national beat writer at a metro, mind you

    this pathetic excuse for an explanation was accepted by the guilty party's editor, who didn't even disciplined the bastard

    never got an apology

  12. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member

    There, copied your post word for word. ;D

    Seriously, it sounds like the subject of the story gave your story to the writer as background (I hate when people do that to me). Just tell me your damn story, and I'll use my own words.
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