Letter to a plagiariser…

Dear Blogger,

I’m flattered that you found my post interesting.

It took me a while to process the conference about which I wrote in that post, as there was so much to take away. I find that blogging helps me unpack the big ideas, don’t you? The process of thinking and writing, rethinking and rewriting, helps me distil the essence and express it clearly and concisely. It’s rewarding to know that others appreciate my posts and it’s great when people comment, whether they agree with or challenge me. It’s pleasing to see my ideas shared and even re-blogged by other bloggers, adding their critiques or commentaries. I love the way social media affords the sharing and growing of ideas.

It was by chance that I came across your version of my post. At first I thought you had simply copied mine without acknowledgement. Then I noticed that you had in fact made a few tweaks, changed the title, removed the links back to my blog and passed the post off as your own.

Many people think what’s on the internet is free for the taking. It’s an easy mistake to make if you’re unaware of copyright. So I left you a comment explaining that my blog is licensed under Creative Commons, and that anyone is free to use and adapt my posts as long as there is attribution. I thought you’d simply realise your error and add the acknowledgement to your post, with a link back to mine. Instead you removed the post entirely. I wonder why.

Hope things are clearer now. If you’re still unsure, here’s a super post entitled ‘No, You Can’t Just Take It’ by Sylvia Tolisano on a similar theme.

Don’t worry about my cartoon, which you’ve used in another post. But do add a link to where you found it…


PS Don’t you think, as educators, we need to model what we expect of our students?


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13 thoughts on “Letter to a plagiariser…

  1. Well said! I wonder if a lesson such as the one you have just given would get the severity of the issue locked into our student’s ‘hard-drives’? L and I battle with breaches of copyright everyday; and not just from our students!


  2. Well said Ed. Copyright starts with us, otherwise we can’t penalize our students for “stealing” from others. Yes it may be convenient, but it is not right!


  3. Lets try and think about this with the plagiarist as the learner at the centre of this experience. They are obviously someone who recognises a good post when they see it, but also lack the confidence to write about the ideas and concepts from their own perspective. So what they have done is take your well expressed ideas and claim them as their own. That must be the opposite of an inquiry approach don’t you think Edna? In addition to not plagiarising, in the future, this learner also needs to trust their own views, to ask, to wonder, to inquire. I would say to this learner, the future is wide open. There is room for many perspectives. Including yours.


  4. The concept of re-mixing someone else’s thoughts and ideas to create a new version from a different perspective is acceptable, obviously with due reference to the original author. In fact as you say, could be flattering. This is a reason to blog: to create a starting point, provide a catalyst for the reader to connect to their own experience and extend their thinking, to contribute to the conversation. But this example sounds like an example of ill considered copying and we need to make the point clear when we see examples such as these that it is not acceptable practice. As teachers in particular, we definitely need to model correct standards and remove the culture of “It’s on the Internet it is free to use”
    Thanks for raising the issue Edna.


  5. Love this! Very eloquent, and so true. Plagiarism is one of my biggest hates as a teacher! Good on you for (graciously) sticking up for your rights 🙂


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