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paul wheaton
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This page

http://www.awomanstouch.us/organiclawn.php

Looks like a rip off of my lawn care article:

http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp

I've found people ripping me off before, but they usually had the page loaded with ads.  This one I decided to not write to her because there is an important lesson.

Plagiarism can go hand in hand with "a woman's touch"; "zen garden"; "serenity"; "feng shui"

The home page is signed with "Namaste"

I guess the thing is that this woman wanted to express "a woman's touch" but she couldn't write it herself and she couldn't find a woman to steal from, so she steals from a man and changes the label to "a woman's touch."

About two years ago I found a site that did something similar. Again, the site was owned by a woman.  And the site was all about christianity and gardening

Maybe my writing style is so feminine that men won't dare to copy it and call it their own!

And maybe this article hits some really awesome spiritual vibe that makes the spiritually obsessed want to claim it is as their own words!

And ... the most important lesson ... folks that sing the praises of some spiritual path can be thieves.

When I contacted the christian woman, I made up some reasonable number for publishing my article and said "the christian thing to do would be to do the right thing and pay for what you have taken."  She refused to pay anything.  I never saw a dime.  Further, she insisted that she had done nothing wrong because anything on the internet is free for the taking.  She became very angry with me.

This seems to be a bit of a theme in my life.  Criminals being angry at those that catch them in the act.  The victim is to be painted as the bad person.  And the criminals carry a big bucket of plastic hearts, flowers and rainbows to prove to the world that they are "good people".


 
Brenda Groth
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I understand ..well as much as I can not having the same experience, but be cautious to not blame groups of people (women, Christians) as not all women or spiritually obsessed as you mentioned people are going to be plagerists..

I have a great deal of respect for you, and your work, so don't cheapen it by making limited judgements of groups of people rather than placing blame where it is...simply with the criminal that committed the crime.

Being a Christian (spiritually obsessed ??) and a woman I would never think of doing anything to hurt you or anyone else on this site or any other site. Honest Christian people do not commit crimes against other people in the name of their beliefs, unless they are very misinformed. I do thank you for considering that all groups have a right to be considered innocent until proven guilty..thanks..Bre

I hope you are able to straighten out this situation in your favor.
 
paul wheaton
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Many people brandish their spirituality or their femininity as proof that they are pure and their actions should not be questioned.    I rather think that this falls within the space of "if you have to say that you are a lady, then you are not."

We do rather expect that if one follows a spiritual path deeply then that one would be a far more decent person.  But, alas, it seems that for every person that does this there are ten that follow this path only 99% of the time - when it is convenient.  It is the remaining 1% of the time that really counts.

And the same could be said for femininity.  I've often heard it said that if the world were run by women that there would be no more war.  Along these lines I would subscribe to something more like "If the world were run only by good, decent people, there would be no more war" - because I can think of several women that have gone to war over the position of the toilet seat, or other trivial matters.  In fact, some of the most horrible hostility I have ever seen came from women.

So .... there are some folks that follow a spiritual path that are good .... and some .... not so much.

Just like everybody else.

There are some folks that are female that are good ....  and some ... not so much.

Just like the male folk.

I am not condemning women or those that seek a spiritual path.  What I am doing is providing evidence that these traits are not proof of decency. 

In this particular case, this woman is advertising herself as "a woman's touch" - the implication being that is somehow preferable over a man's touch.  And yet, she uses a man's words to broadcast what a woman's touch is like. 

I find it ... .funny. 

 
Brenda Groth
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Paul I totally agree with that statement that you made, I do feel that brandishing your femininity or manlyhood either one offensive..and totally unencessary. As well as forcing your spiritual beliefs on anyone at all.

I feel if anyone has the need to do that, then they have very little confidence not only in themselves as a person but also in their faith whatever source it comes from.
 
                          
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If someone speaks of God, make them pay cash.  (paraphrasing Heinlein let me quickly attribute)
 
Leah Sattler
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jenn wrote:
If someone speaks of God, make them pay cash.  (paraphrasing Heinlein let me quickly attribute)




tee heee heee. I must say I have inadvertantly followed that advice for a long time from a non literal standpoint. I think religion is often a front for evil behaviour. I love ?shermers? book 'the science of good and evil' it talks of how god and religious scripts can be used to justify awful behaviour in the minds of people and proposed ways of determining from an objective viewpoint what is "good" and how that doesn't always mesh with every religions teachings.
 
Gwen Lynn
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Interesting! When I got to the barn today, my boss was putting up a "beware of dog" sign. When I looked at it (my brain was playing weird games with me), all I could think of was "beware of god". But...that's me!
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Leah Sattler wrote:

determining from an objective viewpoint what is "good"



What a strange notion.  I wonder how he could define objectivity in such a way that this makes some sense.  "Objective good" is head-breaking with my definition: the inanimate world does not make value judgements; how could objects regard something as good?
 
Leah Sattler
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ha ha ha ha objective.

objective - Based on observable phenomena; presented factually: an objective appraisal.

or alternatively but related........Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices: an objective critic.


good/bad in a social context. since that is the only place where good/bad exist. it is a human concept not a super natural one.  right and wrong transcends any "rules" established by a religion even if we must (gasp) use fuzzy logic. good bad as it relates to "objects" is based solely on how those objects affect other people (or animals) the objects don't care. unless you truly believe rocks and things have thought......
 
Gwen Lynn
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Well said, Leah!
 
paul wheaton
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Copyscape is an excellent tool for finding folks that have copied my stuff. 

I found a new technique today that I really like.  Rather than sending an email, I call them.  I ask to speak to somebody in charge.  And when they say that they are in charge, I say it is a legal matter, and the phone gets passed on. 

Today I talked to two places where somebody provided them with some content.  In both cases, they used just a small slice of my lawn care article.  So I said they could keep it as long as they credited me at the top of the article - complete with a link.  They both sounded agreeable. 

 
Brian Adams
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paul wheaton wrote:
I found a new technique today that I really like.


Don't sweat the small stuff Mr. Wheaton.  Leo Babauta of Zen Habits said, "...the minimalist embraces uncopyright, and in doing so gives to the world and hopes that the world will be better for it, at least in a tiny measure."

Babauta is one of the most successful people who actually make a living writing blogs.  He became so entangled in dealing with people using his content he decided to publish his writing free of copyright and not worry about it anymore.  His brief article "Uncopyright and the minimalist mindset" has a much better summary of his reasoning. 

I find the idea inspiring and fun to think about.

 
              
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Everybody sees things differently regarding subject matter like this.  I feel like once I put something on the internet, then it is public domain, otherwise I should just keep it in my mind if I am too worried about people stealing  the electronic matter.  What do you do if a person takes your youtube video and releases it as their own, are you mad about that too? 
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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You know, there is content on the Internet that is meant to be shared - like YouTube videos or things under the Creative Commons licensing. And then there is content that folks have created from which they'd like credit where credit is due. Maybe not even money, but at least a link or reference so they can continue to build SEO.

Sure that one blogger may have gotten big enough that he makes enough from his blogging (does he publish books, too?) or is enough of a minimalist that he can stop worrying about folks plagiarizing his stuff, but that's rare. I didn't read the link provided, but is the assumption that the "uncopyright" will still somehow point back to him and help spread his name/work?

If you want to put something on the Internet for everyone to use - go for it. Maybe you have a day job to pay your bills, or don't need money, or the site traffic. If the content you're giving away is truly free, I think it makes sense to note that you've sanctioned it with a Creative Commons license. Doing so makes it crystal clear and is a way of showing some respect for others on the 'net.

For example, I often use photos from a free stock photo exchange website. Even with the free photos there, the photographers would like to get credit, so I always list who and where I got the photo. Maybe they'll get a paying gig out of it some day, maybe not. They helped me out, why shouldn't I do at least the small courtesy of giving them credit?
 
Fred Morgan
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Not sure if you all know this, but Google (and I suspect other search engines) are willing to removing from their listings websites that steal from others.

I have never had any problem with people removing my content when I informed them of this. 

Google doesn't want to be party to theft of intellectual property so they are very reactive to this kind of thing. Tell the people to either give you credit, pay up or remove.

Or suffer the consequences of no one finding their site again.

 
paul wheaton
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I think if people want to give their stuff away for free, that's great.

And if people don't want to give their stuff away for free, well, that's their business. 

I wish to express that giving away somebody else's stuff where they don't want it to be given away for free .....  that's wrong. 

Fred, that is excellent info?  How do I submit that sort of thing on google?
 
Fred Morgan
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Try starting at http://www.google.com/webmasters/#utm_medium=et&utm_source=us-en-et-bizsol-0-biz1-all&utm_campaign=en

You might search on it too - we almost went this direction once and were in contact with Google - but I can't remember where it was right now.
 
Emerson White
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Just by way of a forwarning, I am likely to rip you off in the future, by way of saying that "[permaculture is not a boolean operator (like on/off or true/false)]" and I am unlikely to spend the time to credit you if that is the extent of my plagiarism, especially but not limited to casual conversations. It was an especially clear way of stating what many have thought for a long time.
 
Fred Morgan
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We all borrow from each other, especially phrases. As someone who has learned a foreign language later in life, I can tell you that you don't really learn words - eventually you start to copy phrases - if you get beyond merely translating your old language to the new.

Big difference between that and using someone's article almost completely, with slight modifications.

 
paul wheaton
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I think there is an exception in copyright law for "personal use".  It is a whole different matter to post the article (or a large part of it) to the general public and say (or imply) "I wrote this".

It is one thing to send one or two people an email.  It is another thing to whip out a printing press and push it out to thousands (make it available on the mighty internet).

 
Chuck Freeman
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Is there a way to watermark a web page? Something like would at least stop the lazy cut & paste folks. Or you might be able to attach your articles in PDF format and lock them so they couldn't be copied easily.  I gave up on trying to stop the thieves I see articles my wife or I wrote pop up on the internet pretty regularly.
 
paul wheaton
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