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Steal This Blog

I originally wrote this article some time ago, and then shelved it because I found that Jason Massie had already used the title, though his message was entirely different from mine. Since this is an article about plagiarism, I thought it ironic to plagiarize his title. However, with the recent uproar about plagiarism on SQL blogs, I am going ahead anyway.

If you, dear reader, are not aware of the problem, I’ll bring you up to speed with some links to the blog articles. The posts which originally caused me to write this were from Brent Ozar and Lee Everest, which lamented the problems of content theft and condemned those who engage in it. Brent’s article is excellent in that it informs the reader how to fight content theft.

Yesterday there was a flurry of Twitter and blog activity from the SQL Community regarding blog plagiarism. Todd McDermid, Denny Cherry, Jorge Segarra, and again Brent Ozar discussed blog plagiarism problems. Brent is even offering a bounty on people who report plagiarism of his work.

All of these guys are respected bloggers and DBA’s and I’m not going to argue with, nor attempt to disparage any of them. We all agree that content theft is theft and should be dealt with. However, my perspective is a little different.

If you will, picture me as a waiter in some swanky Hollywood restaurant. I’m going to acting classes and auditions at night (analogous to the Saturday SQL classes I’m regularly taking), trying to get my big break. When these three guys walk in there’s a flurry of activity and are of course given a VIP table. They’re talking about their films, trysts with their buxom costars, and Academy Awards they’ve won. As I listen to this while serving them, I am filled with envy and a renewed commitment to better myself.

During the main course they start complaining because the paparazzi are constantly following them around, stealing information and images from them, and lamenting all the work they have to do to keep this from happening. They complain about taxes on the millions they are making in film. Perhaps they’ve hired bodyguards, agents, accountants, etc all to protect their property both real and intellectual. All of this is such a hassle.

I am that waiter. I hope someday to be that well read. I hope to produce a blog worthy of content theft.

I guess my message is that you should be happy that you have to worry about it. You’ve made it. You’ve earned the right to chase these guys down who are stealing your content, because it’s worth stealing. I envy you, and you guys inspire me to study, blog, and raise my game in general. I only wish to give you some perspective.

Now, dear reader, please forgive me as I go back to waiting on this table. “Can I get you another bottle of Zima, Mr. Ozar?” :)

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11 comments to Steal This Blog

  • Kim

    I think I said it before, but your best writing is when you write about personal stuff. Really.

  • Refreshing perspective David, and thanks for the chuckle.

  • I get it, but it’s a little like saying, you should be GLAD that you’re so famous, you’re the target of dangerous stalkers. Having psychotic people try to marry you and attack you is a priviledge!

    I do get it, though…

  • Technically, it’s not called a “VIP” table. It’s called an “MVP” table. But otherwise you’re pretty much dead on.

    I’d like a lemon on the side please.

  • [...] 1/15 – David Stein wrote a funny post about the plagiarism. January 15th, 2010 | Tags: cloud, plagiarism | Category: SQL Server | 7 [...]

  • Andrew

    Good stuff. I disagree with Jen. It’s more like a lottery winner who complains about having to pay the taxes.

  • Andrew – I’d say it’s more like a lottery winner who gets carjacked. Just because they’re rich doesn’t make it right to rob from ‘em. We don’t owe these plagiarists anything, unlike taxes.

  • Somehow the message got mangled here for some readers. I wasn’t suggesting that successful bloggers don’t have a right to complain and chase down content theives, or that they shouldn’t do so. I was simply sharing my perspective in that I want to eventually have the same problems myself. When it happens, I will most likely complain the loudest. :)

  • David – for what it’s worth, that’s how I read it – that you wanted to have those same problems. I thought it was hilarious. And you’re right in that it’s a good problem to have.

    Years ago, I wrote humor pieces for a local PC user group magazine, and I remember searching the web one day for my name and being stunned to find my articles in other user group magazines. It’s really cool to think that somebody took the time to copy your work. The novelty’s since worn off, but I still giggle whenever I find somebody plagiarizing my work.

    It’s a lot like the feeling I get when I see that my dog’s gotten into my dirty clothes and spread them all over the bedroom. She does that every now and then when she’s pissed that we didn’t take her along with us somewhere. I get a chuckle out of it because it’s harmless in small doses – as long as she didn’t escalate to doing it every time we left the house, I’m okay with it. That’s kind of my feeling with the plagiarists, too – if they only took one article now and then, I’d just be flattered. When they start automating the process and sucking up all my posts like a Dyson, it’s less humorous, but I still giggle. “You little weasel…”

  • Lee

    Interesting read. (Is it original work)? :D

  • Well played David.

    I think my article on plagarism is scheduled to publish later this week. I stole… er, was inspired by Brent’s ideas on plagarism. ;)

    I have mixed emotions when someone uses my ideas and doesn’t ask or acknowledge me. One of those emotions is the flattery you express eloquently: “Cool! I came up with an idea worth stealing!” The other emotion is “What?! They can’t think up their own stuff?”

    From conversations with many who have been the victims of plagarists, I know that they’re not telling you the “big ugly” stories. The stuff made public is the tip of the iceberg. The stuff bloggers complain about in public is tame compared to stuff kept private.

    :{> Andy

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