A friend of mine is in graduate school and was telling me about the horrible thing that happened to her friend.
“He got accussed of plagiarism!”
“Oh no! What kind of evidence do they have? Did he just phrase something a lot like a published piece?”
“No! He just put some quotes in his introduction that he found in this blog. It wasn’t like it was published in a book or anything.”
At this point, my sympathy for this guy vanished. “Did he cite his source?”
“No, it was just a blog. It’s not like he’s stealing from anyone.”
Except for the blogger, of course. Now, my friend doesn’t know about this blog. She knows I have a rarely updated running blog, but there’s definitely nothing theft worthy there. While I don’t make a fortune from this blog (with using half my revenue for Kiva loans, I don’t even cover my costs), some people do make a living from their blogs. Would this guy’s plagiarism have hurt the blogger? Probably not. If the paper were being submitted for an academic journal, I suppose it’s possible. If nothing else, a proper citation could lead to increased traffic for the blogger. Either way, the potential for harm isn’t the point. The point is that by this point, people should realize that the blog is a legitimate form of publication and should be taken seriously. There are ways to cite papers to websites. To do otherwise is just stealing.
I admit, I find bits and pieces from my blog on other websites and it is frustrating. Someday, I will put on my lawyer pants and write some cease and desist letters.