So, this post is a little late to the party, but I felt the need to write about it anyways. As I like to gloat to anyone who will listen, I have written two articles for Cracked, and as part of that, I’ve gotten to know a few of the other freelancers there pretty well. One thing that is universally despised by writers is plagiarism. Unfortunatly, it’s something that pretty much every Cracked writer has experienced. I’ve been lucky, in that most of the plagiarism I’ve faced has been in the form of people copy and pasting my post onto a tiny fourm with maybe 20 members. My name is still attached to it, and the number of people who will see it there, instead of on the Cracked site is quite low. Not all of my colleagues have been so lucky, and some of their articles have been ripped off by other writers, with all attribution stripped (usually with the theif adding their name to the byline instead). I had written about it before, but lost the original posts when I didn’t check my backups. Rather than rewrite my thoughts on everything, I figured I’d scour the Internet Wayback Machine on archive.org, and repost them again.
- Plagiarism (about formor MyDaily writer Amy Keyishian)
- Plagiarism: An Epilogue (the follow up to my first post)
I’d also highly reccomend reading these two articles by Holy Taco editor Ian Fortey about Terrel Mims:
- Learn to Write with Terrell Mims: Plagiarist on Holy Taco (by Ian Fortey)
- Why Terrell Mims: Plagiarist Doesn’t Get It on Holy Taco (by Ian Fortey)
For now, that’s all I have to say on the subject. I’m sure at some point, someone else will commit a high-profile act of plagiarism, and I’ll end up writing about it again.
Before I actually get down to what I’m writing about, let me just recognize that I’ve already failed pretty hillariously on two of my resolutions. So much for the “one post a week” thing, eh? Also, I haven’t pitched anything to Cracked this month. I guess there’s not much else to do, except pick up the slack now.
When I first bought my car, one of the first things I did was buy a Sirius satellite radio, and get it installed. While the selection does still get repetitive, the fact that it offered more selection than terrestrial radio made it worth the purchase (with the comedy stations being a nice bonus), not to mention the fact that you get uninterupted service on road trips, rather than constantly cycling through whatever local stations you can get.
Another nice feature is the web player. Having an office job, it’s nice being able to listen to commercial free music as I work. Back in October, they redesigned their old web player with a new one, which was a welcome treat, sincethe old player kind of sucked. Well, when I went to sign into it this morning, I noticed a notification at the bottom, saying that as of Feburary 1, 2013, access to their web player will be an extra $4/month. On top of the $175/year I already pay them. Their justification is that the new player has all these extra feasures (like streaming certain shows on demand, and being able to rewind tracks), and being able to use it for free between October and now was a “free trial”. Ok, fine, if the monthly fee is to pay for the extra features, I’ll just use the old player. I only use it to listen to the live feed anyways, so the extra perks don’t really matter to me. Except you can’t. They removed the old player, leaving just the “new and improved” player, which they will now charge extra for.
I know their thought process is that if I’m already paying $175/year, and extra $48 shouldn’t really matter to me. Well, it kind of does. Yes, it may not be a lot of money, but removing services, without decreasing my bill is just sleazy. It’s completely dishonest, and makes me want to cancel my subscription, more than anything else. If you read their FAQ, they don’t really have a justification, other than “they can”.
Why am I writing this? Mainly to vent, but also to let people know the shady tactics they are using on their users. What’s to say they won’t randomly decide that Howard Stern, or Raw Dog comedy are “premium channels” that you have to pay extra for, or that service outside of a designated service area costs extra? With this move, they’ve shown that they don’t care about this customers, and have no problem cutting services, while keeping the price the same.
My resolution is 1600×900
Normally, I don’t pay much attention to the idea of New Years Resolutions. I usually make jokes like the one above, or say that I resolve to not make an resolutions (which is kind of breaking that resolution). This year while I was scoffing at the idea of making a resolution, I actually stopped to think about it, and realized that I was looking at it the wrong way. Maybe part of the reason nobody keeps New Years Resolutions is that they’re always vague ideas like “I want to be healthier”, and we’ve become so accustom to breaking resolutions that it’s never a big deal if we do so.
So, this year, I’m going to look at it a little differently. Instead of “New Years Resolutions”, I’m creating a list of “life goals” (stole that term from a friend. If she’s reading: sorry, dude), and have specific steps on how I want to accomplish them (as well as deadlines, in some cases). In some cases, I don’t expect to complete them this year (again, their life goals more than resolutions), but I want to have made a step towards them by this time next here. I’ll be adding to the list as I think of more things, or accomplish goals. I’ll be keeping this blog updated on my progress towards these goals. So, without further ado (apologies for the cliche), my goals:
Short Term (within the end of the year)
- Lose 20 pounds by June 14
- Get my CCNA Certification by June 30
- Start writing for Cracked again
- Make at least two pitches by January 31
- Participate in NaNoWriMo 2013
- Start taking courses toward the BTech degree
- Travel somewhere I haven’t been before
- Get my law degree
- Write an article for a magazine
- Get a book deal
- Exercise at least three times a week
- Update this blog at least once a week
My hope is that by posting this online, and update it, I’ll have something to keep me focused.
As I wrote a couple of days ago, an article on Cracked.com written by Mark M., Kathy Benjamin and Sami Reeves was plagiarized by a woman named Amy Keyishian (no, I’m still not going to provide a link to her stuff). When her editor at MyDaily (owned by AOL) were contacted by Ashe, another freelancer for Cracked, the editor replied with a flippant remark, stating that it wasn’t really plagiarism. Why was it not plagiarism? I don’t know, maybe hocking so many of those stupid discs over the years made AOL impervious to logic.
Whatever the reason, it’s time for an update. I never did receive any responce from the editor. I sort of received a responce from Amy Keyishian, in that she hid herself from the Facebook search.
As for action on the part of MyDaily, they decided to retweet the article on their Twitter page, then silently pulled the article a few hours later. To my knowledge, none of the original writers have received any sort of apology, nor has MyDaily or AOL made a public retraction (or admitted to any wrong doing). So, it’s a partial victory, I guess.
So, what can you do about this? Well, an apology is unlikely, and wouldn’t be worth much at this point. You could still contact the Editor-in-Chief and Site Director and tell them that you don’t like how they handled the situation. If, you know, someone were to carelessly leave out their email addresses….
You can also share a link to my first post about this on Twitter or Facebook or on a blog of your own. If enough people link to this, it just might get high enough on the Google search results to be first page when someone googles “Amy Keyishian”. Currently, I’m on page 9, just behind a Match.com article.
Anyways, it is now 4 am, and I have spent way too long on what was supposed to be a simple blog post, recapping the events surrounding this, and I am going to bed.
So… this happened. To what am I referring? A freelance writer, by the name of Amy Keyishian plagiarized an article from Cracked.com and sold it to MyDaily (an AOL website). I’m not going to link to her “version”, because I don’t want to give her the traffic.
Now, freelance writing can really suck. Coming up with original ideas can be really hard (there’s a reason that there was almost a full year lag between my first Cracked article, and my second), and I can’t imagine trying to make a living off of it. That said, no matter how behind schedule you are, how close the deadlines are, you don’t rip off other writers. This is something taught since elementary school.
Any attempts to contact her by the original authors, or other writers at Cracked have been futile. While that’s disappointing, it’s hardly surprising. What is suprising, however, is the responce that Ashe (another freelancer for Cracked) got from the Editor-in-Chief of MyDaily, Carrie Sloan:
Ashe, Thanks for writing. I just just went and read the Cracked article now. I assigned Amy that story at MyDaily, based on a request I’d received from an editor at AOL.com, so I was concerned that you said she had plagiarized.
The fact is, you’re right, the subject matter is similar, but published scientific studies are out there to be written about, and her article is completely original, drawing on her own life circumstances/experiences.
If anything, given the similarity, I’ll be happy to link you up and try to send you traffic.
The fact that an editor would think that it is ok to plagiarize is disturbing, to say the least. The article that Amy “wrote” wasn’t a simple case of her writing based off the same studies (though, if she did that, and got the studies from Cracked, it’s still plagiarism), she took the Cracked article and rearranged the entries (while splitting one of the entries into two). That’s plagiarism, plain and simple. No editor, not even one working for AOL, should find that acceptable.
So, I figured I’d send her an email as well.
My name is Travis Harder, and I am a freelance writer. One of the markets I write for is Cracked.com, and I was surprised to see that one of your writers, Amy Keyishian, plagiarized an article that three of my colleagues wrote (hers: http://www.mydaily.com/REDACTED the original: http://www.cracked.com/article_19024_6-factors-that-secretly-influence-who-you-have-sex-with.html). If you read both of them, side-by-side, you will see that there is really no difference between them. Ms. Keyishian re-arranged the order of the entires, and split one of then into two, but the rest of the text is essentially identical. This is not a simple matter of two articles using the same sources, or reading the same studies, this is straight-up plagiarism. I am certain that you have felt the pain of someone stealing your work, as have I, and I am also certain that we can both agree that it is not a pleasant feeling. Now imagine how Mark M., Kathy Benjamin, and Sami Reeves feel about this. I saw this article go from concept to completion, and witnessed its growth from an idea to a fully formed article over a course of months. For another writer to come along and claim it as her own, and get paid for it? That has to suck.
I ask that you do the right thing and take down Ms. Keyishian’s carbon-copy of an article, issue an apology to the original writers, and have (at the very least) a serious discussion with Ms. Keyishian about intellectual property and plagiarism
I also sent Amy a message on Facebook (I figured, why not).
I apologize in advance for bothering you on your personal Facebook, however I could find no other way of getting a hold of you.
I just thought that I would give you a heads up that I emailed your editor at MyDaily about this article: (http://www.mydaily.com/REDACTED), which was plagiarized from here: (http://www.cracked.com/article_19024_6-factors-that-secretly-influence-who-you-have-sex-with.html).
I’m also a freelance writer, so I understand the temptation to copy. You take on more work than you can handle, deadlines suddenly appear much closer than you initially thought, and your mind wanders. You know that you can’t give into temptation, though. Mark M., Kathy Benjamin, and Sami Reeves put a lot of effort into this article, and it really isn’t fair to them that you would rearrange a few entries, split one into two and call it your own.
You have an impressive resume (I would have loved to have been able to study at Columbia University), so why put that in jeopardy be plagiarizing an article? If it gets out there that you copied someone else’s work, you will become unemployable. No editor in their right mind would take that kind of risk.
That is all I really have to say. I’m sorry if you found this message intrusive, I tried to keep my language as civil as possible. If you would like to continue this discussion, feel free to either reply to this message, or email me at REDACTED.
If either of them reply, I will post the responses here. Until then, feel free to check out the Cracked message board thread about this.