A popular handout from my site, Short Stories: 10 Tips for Creative Writers, includes a phrase uncommon enough that Googling for it (“practiced scream therapy“) leads me to short story exercises that develop an example into more detailed studies, or pages that remix the content of my site in order to make a similar point. Those were fun to read.
The pages that copied the whole handout, word-for-word, were less enjoyable to read.
One person asked me a few years ago if he could use “portions” of that handout, but it looks like he copied almost all of it, remixing it here or there. I don’t think that posting his own version of the handout is the same thing as using “portions,” so I was a little annoyed. Still, the remixer mad it very clear that he was building on someone else’s work, and the citation was clear.
Even worse, I also found two documents on Wattpad.com and one page on Scribd.com that repeated the content from my site word-for-word. Both websites had relatively straightforward methods for reporting copyright violations, and less than 24 hours later, Scribd has taken down its unauthorized copy, and Wattpad has taken down one of the two copies I brought to their attention. (I just sent another request about the remaining copy.)
That was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
A bit more frustrating are the websites that were clearly created for a specific assignment that has come and gone. On one of these pages, someone used several examples from my site, including the green check and red X graphics I designed, as part of an exam.
Now, I have used grammar quizzes and writing prompts or even whole assignments that draw heavily on the work of other educators, but how hard is it to include a credit line?
While the material taken from my site is only a small portion of the educator’s entire exam, Especially when the other person has republished part of my work under a creative commons license that requires people to credit her work for any reuse?
The thick and creamy icing on the cake?
Look at the title of the document. This was an “Irony and Ambiguity Final.”