The Case Of The Purloined Blog-Post by The Puzzle Doctor

The Puzzle Doctor was just a blogger whose witticisms and barbed reviews could create or destroy an author whether they be a newcomer to the world of mystery or a veteran of the field. [Hey, this is a blurb. Blurbs don’t have to be honest!] Writers quake in anticipation when their title appears in the Next Time On The Blog box. But he never expected what was going to happen next?

Why is another blog stealing his reviews? Why haven’t they asked his permission? And why have they garbled some of the writing? Is it a deliberate attempt to plagiarise without detection? What can possibly be done to thwart this theft? Luckily, the Puzzle Doctor is not alone – he has an army of followers to help him out…

OK, what’s the point of this post and why did I write that silly blurb? Well, basically, I want to see if the person nicking my material actually reads this and nicks this as well. Because I can be pretty childish when I want to be. I’m not going to tell you the website, as I don’t want it to get a single additional visit, but I am going to tell you about it, and warn my fellow bloggers to keep an eye out.

This has sort of happened once before, if you don’t count Michael Jecks reposting my reviews on his blog – cheers, Michael! Another blog, based in Russia, iirc, posted translated versions of my stuff, but it was done with full acknowledgement and links to the original source. So fair enough.

The new blog – well, it seems to be nicking my most recent posts, under the heading “Classic Mystery”, along with posts from three other non-mystery blogs, although for some reason, those posts were from April. It’s a WordPress.org site, which means WordPress.com can’t apparently do anything about it. So I’m trying to get a message to the blog creator to ask them to stop, but there’s a dearth of contact info. Apparently, there is a body that I can report them to, but that sounds like a hassle and awfully officious. I’ve emailed the other blog authors to let them know about it – I only discovered it when WordPress asked me to approve links to my posts, links that were in the original posts and remained in the article when it had been cut and pasted.

But here’s the odd thing – the change in some of the language. For example, my review of Murder On The Orient Express ended with the witty epithet:

Oh, and Ken? Don’t f**k up the film, there’s a good chap…

The stolen copy becomes:

Oh, and Ken? Don’t f**k the movie, there is a good guy…

I’m guessing that for whatever reason, the blog creator – I hesitate to use the word author – has run this into a translator and back again. There is some evidence for this, as one of the other bloggers’ posts appears in French. So without being re-translated, which is odd. It seems to be deliberate, not a bot, because of this error, but the person in question doesn’t seem to be reading the translations –  might the original author have auto-translate switched on in their browser and then posts a translation of that? So they don’t spot the errors due to not being a native English speaker…

So, what’s the point of this post, apart from trying to embarrass the thief into posting this? Well, a warning to fellow blogs. Put a copyright notice on your blog. Set up a Creative Commons license. And keep an eye out for people who nick your work. Yes, this is hardly the crime of the century but us bloggers work hard-ish to produce something to pass the odd 30 seconds of your time. Please give us the credit for what we do, and if you can’t do that, don’t appropriate our work in the first place without permission.

And if you are reading this on someone else’s site, come and meet the real me over at In Search Of The Classic Mystery Novel – the real deal, accept no substitutes!

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18 comments

  1. Wow – I really didn’t expect this sort of thing to happen, but obviously I am being naive, since it is much easier to ‘borrow’ someone else’s content than create your own. However, why not just reblog with permission? Strange indeed! Well done for speaking up!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. He/she could be Amercican or Canadian. The terms “film” and “good chap” are not used in Canada/the US, while “movie” and “good guy” are.

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  3. On behalf of struggling bloggers everywhere, PD, I want you to catch this miscreant and throttle him to within an inch of his life! But there’s also sort of a thrill of a real life mystery unfolding before us.

    I do love getting e-mails, purportedly from my bank, or Apple, warning me that something “has go wrong withs your account” or coming home from Easter dinner at my brother’s to find an e-mail from my “brother” telling me he and the family are trapped in Ireland and to please send money. (Evidently the experience of being in two countries at the same time was so traumatic that it caused all the grammar and spelling my sib had learned in American schools to “flies out over the windew.”)

    Glad you’re tracking this a****le down!

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  4. PD and Kate, you’re both right: the CCL button is at the bottom, but the bottom is the start of October. When I just tried, the page kept loading posts until “They Came to Baghdad” (October 4) was completely visible – then and only then was the CCL button shown. At first I was going to agree with PD, but realized I’d never scrolled until I could scroll no more. Maybe the answer is to put the CCL at the top of the page.
    BTW: you are two of my favourite GAD bloggers and thanks to your inspired recommendations I’ve discovered some really good mysteries.
    Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • aww thanks! Glad I’ve been able to put you on to some good mysteries.
      And since it seems so tricky to view my CCL and I would hate my readers to miss out on seeing so easily I’ve moved it into the sidebar. Thankfully I didn’t have to remake it.

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  5. Hmm, this is most odd, and a little worrying, too. As you say hardly the crime of the century, but plagiarism in any form is going to be a concern for the person being plagiarised. Still, if this post has itself been stolen, you can probably take heart in knowing it’s unlikely whoever is steling it is actually reading it…though, yes, that only deepends the mystery.

    Hope you get it sorted soon, and thanks for bringing it to our attention.

    Like

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