I Cannot Abide Thieves

I’m not just talking about the thieves that break into your car and steal your stuff, though I can’t abide those either. I’m also referring to those who do not give credit where credit is due. If I borrow a graphic from your website, I am going to ask your permission to use it before I download it and place it on my site, and I’m also going to provide a link to your website because you deserve credit for your original works. Likewise, I expect the same courtesy from others who reference my works. I should at least get an reference in the bibliography.

So understand that when I find that I have been referenced, or you have clearly read a post on my blog… and not given me credit, I will take you to task for it.

As a writer, I do my best to protect the interests of other writers. When I like their work, I link to it. When it inspires me, I openly credit it. This is especially true for the works of local bloggers. Lately, I’ve really been enjoying the posts of Bike to Work Barb, who posts these wonderful, warm and charming stories about her family and her day to day life on her blog. Her posts are not only a pleasure to read, but are thoughtful and thought provoking. She has a unique style that really puts a smile on my face every time she posts. My favorite is still “Sweetie and the Poo Rock”. If you haven’t read it, you should.

I also spent the entire month of November involved with the local writing scene here in Spokane, by participating in NaNoWriMo. The local writers are an amazing bunch of people. Collectively in Spokane we managed to write almost 3.4 million words. Nearly half of all participating writers in NaNoWriMo in Spokane this year, finished by November 30th with 50,000 words under their belts. Here’s a link to those statistics. As you can see, Spokane’s writing community is vibrant, active and watchful. We keep our eyes on each other and do the best we can to support each other.

So here I am, as a writer, holding my hand out to the community now.

A blogger borrowed a title from an article of mine, and clearly read the article without giving me credit for having written my original work. I’m not asking for much. I’d just like a link within the context of their post because I started the fuss. I engaged in conversation about and wrote the article title that clearly inspired their article title. Their issue, that they talk about on their blog came about because it was my issue.

I am glad that someone is reading this blog, but I feel so violated and so used because they took my issue and tried to make it their own, but couldn’t even do me the courtesy of coming up with their own article title, or leaving my research and my conversations out of their article.

At this point, this is all I am saying. I am hopeful that these people know who they are and will do the right thing. I’ll give them some time to do the right thing, and when/if they do, I will thank them for their readership and move on with life. If not, I will make a big fuss about it. I have to protect the integrity of my work. As a writer, my work is my life’s blood, even if it’s some small cheesy article that I wrote in the middle of the night because I was feeling irate. It doesn’t matter. I wrote it, I took issue with it and I stood up for what I believed in when I wrote that article. I have to stand behind what I wrote because I own it.

I am also hopeful that my experience here opens the eyes of other local bloggers. Watch the local scene. Watch for people who unfairly take your ideas without giving them credit. Watch out for yourselves.

Update: I have edited this post to remove identifying markers because the blogger in question and I conversed and it turns out that we merely just missed each other on twitter. We had the same ideas at the same time, but different perspectives on them. This happens too. As a result, I am leaving this article in tact, with this update in place as an attempt to educate others. Contacting the other writer is a good route to take, especially when a misunderstanding can result if you hadn’t done so otherwise. That was the case this time, but it is not always the case. I am sure the other blogger would agree that protecting one’s copyrights is important and in the digital age, it is increasingly difficult business.