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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Plagiarist Among Us

Like Dick Eastman, I too have been ripped off. The culprit is stealing entire articles from me, Dick, Ancestry.com, Interment.net and others, and listing us as "Contributors" in the sidebar. (Listing us as "Victims" would have sent up too many red flags.)

The domain—TargetDates.com— is registered to this upstanding citizen:

Registrant:
George Ehrlekrona
45 prince of Wales Billings, MT 59105
,
United States

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: TARGETDATES.COM
Created on: 25-Aug-04
Expires on: 25-Aug-06
Last Updated on: 13-Nov-05

Administrative Contact:
Ehrlekrona, George filehouse@worldnet.att.net
45 prince of Wales Billings, MT 59105
,
United States
+1.4066612332
This person has shown legitimate interest in genealogy in the past, but somewhere along the line decided that becoming a parasite would prove far more rewarding.

You might have noticed a Creative Commons "Some Rights Reserved" logo over in the sidebar of The Genealogue's homepage. The linked license allows anyone to reprint original material from this blog for non-commercial purposes. All I ask is proper attribution and a link back to this website. I have received and granted several requests to reprint specific articles in society newsletters, and have granted similar requests from a couple of commercial outfits.

This situation is different, and leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. Whatever meager revenue I earn from The Genealogue and my other websites goes to fund my own genealogical research. I have a special fondness for this blog, to which I have devoted hundreds of hours over the past year. Creating an enjoyable experience for my readers requires more than just skill at cutting and pasting text. I have, on more than one occasion, risen from my bed and rushed back to the computer to change the title of a post or fine-tune a Top Ten list. The Genealogue is never far from my mind. All in all, I would rather have my TV stolen than the content of this blog.

This is not a victimless crime. In the eyes of the search engines, The Genealogue may be devalued because of the duplicated content. You, my regular readers, are also victims. Many of you use this blog's RSS feed, but I'm seriously thinking about cutting it back to a snippet, or eliminating it altogether to discourage theft. I'm also hesitant about writing new content, knowing that it probably will be stolen within a few hours of posting.

In closing, let me offer two pieces of advice to the plagiarist:
  • Stealing from a poor genealogist like me is one thing, but stealing from the biggest genealogy company on the planet might actually get you sued.
  • You might not want to steal this post.

Randy Seaver

Chris,

The site appears to be totally worthless ... he posts many on one day a month, and usually just a line or two. Someone at Eastman's blog said that it was just a scam to get AdSense revenue.

I forgot to click on your site on his blogroll - has he taken entire articles and republished them?

I assume that it is OK for other bloggers to link to your site to a specific article and perhaps quote a paragraph. I've done that several times with your work because I appreciate it and it gives other people a chance to see it, and also gives me an easy post! Please tell me if otherwise.

Keep up the good work -- Randy

Chris

Randy,

Quoting a paragraph is perfectly all right. In fact, I encourage it! That's how we bloggers exchange ideas and traffic.

Yes, he has copied every one of my articles in recent weeks. He appears to be scraping content from the RSS feeds (I cut mine back to the first 255 characters this afternoon, and that's all that showed up on his copy of my "Ensuring Deadness in 1889").

He probably won't get much traffic, unless some foolish people link to his website. With luck, those victims who have more clout than I do will put the fear of God into him. All I can do is mete out some shame--which is only effective if the transgressor has a conscience.

Jasia

Hmmm... now you've got me thinking. I've referenced one of your articles in my Blog Carnival (http://creativegene.blogspot.com/2006/06/carnival-of-genealogy-edition-1.html) but didn't put your name (or anyone else's) in the listing per se. I didn't use any of your text but linked back to your article instead. Maybe I should have asked permission, but I couldn't see how it could do anything but increase readership of your Blog. Let me know if this is a problem and I won't reference your Blog posts in the future. Or better yet, submit an article to me at Blog Carnival (http://blogcarnival.com/bc/) if you'd like to share it. My apologies if I've offended you and my thanks if you choose to participate.

Janice

Chris,

Ugh on plagarist.... :(

Your blog definitely is a source of inspiration for me.. but I love thanking you for it by placing a link (or two, or three) back to The Genealogue. I agree with Randy about the worthlessness of his site.

J

Dana Huff

Chris, I'm sorry this happened. As a high school English teacher, I've dealt with this aspect of human nature too often, and it never ceases to amaze me how despicable people can be. I really enjoy your posts and read each one through Bloglines, as I do all the blogs I read. I never thought about something like that being used as a tool to make stealing easier.a

Chris

Thanks to all of you for writing. Jasia, links are always welcome, and permission is never needed.

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