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"I'm Sorry If I Offended You By Stealing Your Work"

Well, another politician has been caught exposing his ignorance on just how these internets work -- and how powerful the blogosphere can be when it's properly riled up on its own home turf.

Minnesota Republican Party Vice Chairman Michael Barrett thought it would be a neat idea to start his own blog, to spread his thoughts and ideas and whatnot. No big deal; it's why I blog, too.

But Mr. Barrett apparently didn't realize just how big the blogosphere is -- or how fast things can get around.

Mr. Barrett started posting articles (occasionally with a slight bit of editing) he found on other blogs that he found interesting. Again, no big deal -- a lot of people do that.

Where he went wrong is that he didn't give credit when he did that.

There's a polite term for that sort of thing. It's called "lifting."

The less than polite, but more precise, term would be "plagiarizing."

The legalistic term would be "infringement of copyright."

But I'm occasionally impolite, imprecise, and not a lawyer. The term I tend to use is "lowlife thieving scumbag sack of shit."

He's offered the standard mea culpa. In it, he manages to spin some rather remarkable fabrications.

I don't really need to Fisk Barrett's non-apology; one of his victims, "doubleplusundead," does so quite thoroughly.

I've had this happen to me a few times. Every now and then, I'll salt one of my entries with a very distinctive turn of phrase as "Google bait," and then a day or two later run that through Google or Technorati and see who's ripping me off. It's my version of a Canary Trap, and I've busted a few scumbags doing it. (Most recently one dipshit who'd been posting a steady stream of Wizbang articles over at myLot, the pay-for-blogging site, for about eight months.)

Mr. Barrett appears to have retired from blogging in light of his being busted as a lowlife thieving scumbag sack of shit serial plagiarist -- but not before offering the standard quarter-assed (it doesn't even qualify as half-assed) "(f)or those offended, please accept my sincerest apologies."

That doesn't cut it, pal. You knew how to find the people you ripped off in order to steal their material; the least you could do is apologize to them by name. After all, if you thought your readers might enjoy their material enough to steal it, then maybe your readers might enjoy to continue to read it after your retirement -- and from the actual authors.

Goodbye, Mr. Barrett. And good riddance.


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Comments (12)

As one of the people that w... (Below threshold)
MagicalPat:

As one of the people that was ripped off by Barrett, I must say I found his 'apology' lacking. Sure, he said the obligatory "for those offended" catchphrase, but if he were sincere, there is one other thing he could have done. Give attribution! Why not include in the body of your apology the posts that were flagged as plagiarized and give them proper credit. That's all any of us wanted in the first place.

When the plagiarism was discovered, we contacted other blogs he posted on and gave them links to the original posts. Even if he could not remember where he lifted from, the road map was given to his friends.

I,nor as far as I know the others who were plagiarized had any desire to see him quit blogging or lose his privileges at other sites. We just wanted credit. That's all.

JT, I ain't getting it. Jus... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, I ain't getting it. Just how do you feel about plagarists? ww

Jay, this happens way too o... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

Jay, this happens way too often. What Wizbang has always offered is constructive thought,
When we have a Government that guts the the 4th Amendment..
It works both ways...
The days/nights when someone can claim a previous idea as their own are over.
This allows us to be a little more subjective to places we, in the past, took for granted...

Keep on..keepin' on..

nogo:The days/... (Below threshold)
marc:

nogo:

The days/nights when someone can claim a previous idea as their own are over.

Tell that to a lawyer the specializes in copyright/Fair Use law.

Asshat.

A thief is a thief. A guy ... (Below threshold)

A thief is a thief. A guy who'll steal ideas from lesser-known bloggers will steal other stuff if he gets half a chance.

It's a good thing he's been found out before he won higher office and had more opportunities.

nogo is, indeed, being an a... (Below threshold)

nogo is, indeed, being an asshat. More so than usual, in fact.

We're not talking about "ideas." We're talking about whole articles, paragraph after paragraph (and, in some cases, images as well) of someone's work being presented on Barrett's forum as if they were his own words. And, indeed, if one trusted his notice/disclaimer, he did assert that they were his words and his alone.

I think that, for Christmas, I'm going to get nogo a Strunk & White and a shift key. Lord knows he needs them.

J.

While it is not always easy... (Below threshold)

While it is not always easy, my parsing of nogo's sentence suggests he was being supportive of Jay's position - although his reference to the 4th amendment suggests he's hitting the bong a little early tonight.

Perhaps a few examples from... (Below threshold)
MagicalPat:

Perhaps a few examples from the post he took from me will illustrate. He took pretty much my whole post but omitted a paragraph, changed a word here and there and add one sentence. Then posted it as if he wrote it.

Here is one sentence

I wrote:

She was told to trim them back, lest the combination of a recent dry season, power lines and Santa Ana winds erupt into one of those wildfires we're famous for.

He wrote:

She was told to trim them back, lest the combination of a recent dry season, power lines and Santa Ana winds erupt into one of those wildfires they're famous for.

I point this example out because on a few blogs people defended the would be Congressman of being lazy or inattentive. But this example shows how he obviously read through the post and changed one word, the one word that would have shown that he lifted the post since he is from Minnesota, a state not really known for wild fires.

That tells me that this was no accident. It was purposefully done to make it look as if he wrote it. No lazy person goes to this much trouble, and it could not happen by accident.

Ah c'mon, HE didn't plagiar... (Below threshold)
epador:

Ah c'mon, HE didn't plagiarize, some low-life scumbag minion did. Ya think he has the time to blog? So, he took credit for some plagiaristic low-life minion. Shows bad management and bad lazy ethical standards on his part.

Shows bad management and... (Below threshold)
MagicalPat:

Shows bad management and bad lazy ethical standards on his part.

Just the kind of guy we want in Congress eh? He ran in 2006 and his opponent only got 70% of the vote. I wonder how he'll fare in '08?

"lowlife thieving scumbag s... (Below threshold)
Jer:

"lowlife thieving scumbag sack of shit." - Jay Tea

Direct, concise, and unmistakable. I like it!

Good riddance, yes. Did Joe... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Good riddance, yes. Did Joe Biden advise him to step down?




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