Saturday, August 9, 2014

Plagiarism: A Clarification Of Facts

Last October, I learned that some of my articles were being posted on another blog with somebody else's name on them.  I've been doing this for a long time, and that doesn't happen very often.  I get reposted a lot--that's not a bad thing.  When you're a writer you want to be read.  Usually, when I've had problems in the past, the problem is my name isn't on the piece at all.  Usually I contact the site administrator and he'll fix it--it's usually just an oversight, or the administrator didn't know where the piece had come from originally.  That's never been a problem for me--I've always had a very lenient sharing policy.  Still do.  You want to use something you find on here, please do--just let me know.  Not one single problem in all the years I've been doing this, and not one time have I rejected a request to repost or reprint one of my pieces--you'll find my stuff all over the internet, in Masonic publications, even in small publications like Scottish Rite Valley and Blue Lodge newsletters. 

This deal in October was a little different however, because he didn't just leave my name off the pieces--he put his name on the by-line!  We tried to reach him, but this guy completely ignored us.  Robert Johnson, the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons tried to contact him several times through several different means.  He simply did not respond to any of his inquiries.  So I fired off a hot one--a very strongly worded email.  That got his attention--he responded to that immediately.  Some individuals can't seem to hear you unless you're yelling.  My request was simple--either attribute the pieces you're posting on your website correctly, or take them down.  In the end, and several nasty emails later, he took them down.  He's now taken to disparaging me at every opportunity, and dishonestly--like I've done something wrong.  So I feel it's time for a clarification--I'm tired of people asking me about it.  Here's his most recent comment when asked why my content wasn't featured on his website:

"Unfortunately, Bro. Todd Creason's outrageous demands forced us to remove his site from our news feeds and related articles.  We followed the Copyright Use Policy stated on his website, but apparently that wasn't good enough.  He has since changed his rules, I mean Copyright Use Policy."

My "Outrageous Demands"
My outrageous demands were to either give me credit for the pieces I'd written and his name were on, or take them down.  I don't think that's outrageous.  Do you?

We Followed His Use Policy
It should be clear from the examples below he most certainly did not.  My use policy was very open at the time.  It said, in part, "feel free to use anything you find here, but be sure you give credit where credit is due, and provide links back to the original article."  I don't think you have to be a genius to see that in the photo below, that I'm not listed as the author--he is.  Does that seem like "credit where credit is due?"  We did change our Use Policy and it should be obvious why--blatant misuse and abuse on the part of this website. 

I blurred it, but that's not my name in the by-line, it's his.  There are 1018 people
out there that think he's one hell of a writer.  This is only one article.

On a few of the pieces he claimed authorship on (that were actually mine) he did list me as a "source" at the bottom--but very few.  He kept arguing this point as if that was good enough.  First of all, it wasn't on all of them, and secondly, most people know what a source is--a source is material you reference for your facts when you write a book or an article.  I've been researching and writing for a long, long time, so believe me, that's the universal definition of "source" when it comes to writing.  As you can see there's no links back to me, or my website, or the Midnight Freemasons--both of those links lead back to different forums on his website.  And his name again appears at the bottom. 

On a couple of the "borrowed pieces" I was listed as a "source" at the bottom.

He was unwilling to attribute the pieces properly, so I insisted that my pieces be taken down. It was not his choice as he suggested--he wasn't given a choice.  It was my work, and I'm not going to allow somebody else to put their name on it.  I made that decision, and my friends at the Midnight Freemasons (all twelve of them) on their own, made the group decision they didn't want their material posted there either for the exact same reason--we work too hard on that material to have somebody else take credit for it. 

I also decided to keep my disagreement with this individual private--and I have.  I've never named him or the website out of respect for the people that enjoy that website, and those that contribute to it.  After all, we are all Masons, and even though we won't always agree, I had hoped we could remain respectful. 

At least that's the way I decided to handle it.  Perhaps he'll come to understand that there is a better way of dealing with disagreements than airing dirty laundry and trying to embarrass others in public.  I know he'll see this.  He's a big fan of mine.  Although I didn't know it, I was once a major contributor to his website.  :-)

I didn't write this to embarrass anyone--if that had been my intention I would have named names.  I do it to illustrate a point.  We live in a very copy/paste world, and for some reason many believe that anything you find on the internet can be used.  But writers like me (and the Midnight Freemasons) spend countless hours creating these articles and pieces.  I spent a couple weeks working on the article I used in this example alone--just so somebody else could lift it and claim it as their own.  Plagiarism is theft.  It's very frustrating for creative people to have their little "brain children" swiped by less-than-scrupulous individuals.

So remember that when you're reposting material.  Always give the author credit.  It's never cool to write your name on somebody else's paper.



  1. The same person did exactly the same thing to me. I wrote him twice but he ignored me and continued to post my material under his name. It stopped only when I password protected my blog but that, of course, limits readership. It's a shame he cannot live up to his Masonic obligations.

    1. It was a very disappointing experience--conduct I never expected from a Brother Master Mason. And the fact he continues to be dishonest in what was obviously his foul, and he continues to post a lot of articles, and I suspect he actually writes very few of them himself.

  2. Just remember, you can't fix stupid.

    1. You are correct, you can't fix stupid, but as I've learned over the years, you can sure irritate the hell out of it. :-)


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