One “tear of a child” in a sea of stinky journalism
“Plagiarisms is a plague” | @architecturally
“Whole world does not cost one tear of child” | Dostoevsky
Architecture is the only art where plagiarism is partially acceptable. It’s a known paradox… Yet such paradox cannot be applied to the literature (blogging, journalism, books) about the architecture. Moreover, plagiarism in literature is the most hideous form of plagiarism… which is pretty close to the criminal offense called thievery. That’s why there are intellectual property laws and copyright. Unfortunately those laws are rarely working. Especially for the little authors called bloggers. We don’t have time and money to fight with the bastards that steal our content and our ideas in court… But we can make the bastards “famous”.
There are 3 types of plagiarists.
Rats are ugly little creatures… kinda small thieves. Even though rats are not huge monsters they are mean. Usually rat stupidly copies your essay to her stinky blog. Sometimes rat makes some tiny changes to your text and it ruins the harmony of your ideas. Sometimes rat puts up her own illustrations and it destroys your content. Sometimes rat can even give you a credit by mentioning your name in an ultra-fine print. Yet rat will never inform you about the “borrowing” of your essay and will never ask your permission for the publication. This type of plagiarist usually lives in “LiveJournal” (it’s an outdated blogging platform which is still hugely popular in the former USSR countries. I know it, since I run my blog in English and Russian). Very often you can easily scare the rat by a simple e-mail. So the creature will run away covering up the tracks (i.e. deleting the stolen publication). Occasionally you might face a nasty fat rat that won’t go away but will hiss at you back (sending you replies full of dirty personal insults). Such rat will not remove your text. Don’t bother to fight. Remember: “One should not stir the shit as it will be even more stinking.”
Rats are typical for the Russian-speaking internet, which is a pretty big market…
Jackals are insidious and dangerous. As an opposite of rats jackals are very advanced online players that are watching your publications. They scrupulously check your traffic and follow your tweets. They watch your every step on the web. And then they strike. They publish their stuff on their sites and it looks so original… except ideologically and stylishly it is based entirely on your thoughts, your manner, and your spirit. It’s hard to catch them… At times jackals might make a mistake and to post a direct quotation from your essay. But it happens rarely… Jackals are careful. Thus you don’t see them as often as rats. Yet being sleazy creatures jackals are way creepier… Some famous blogger or even a celebrity could be a jackal. Jackals are bigger and stronger than their victims; therefore to fight them makes no sense. You can write them a direct message… but it won’t help. They might even produce a polite answer. By analyzing their calculated reply you will understand – your assumptions are true, the jackal really plagiarizes you. But that’s all. There’s nothing else you can do. So try to become an advanced online player by yourself. (I have my own jackal. Funny but his name also starts with “J”… and I know he reads it now.)
Jackals are typical for the English-speaking internet.
Dogs are an international phenomenon. This type of plagiarism is typical for every language.
Dogs are the most powerful and cruel type of plagiarists. Let me warn you: there’s no point in fighting them (It’s like pissing against the wind – excuse my French). Yes, sometimes David beats Goliath… Unfortunately it happens mostly in the Biblical stories…. So “Dogs” are the most influential websites that plagiarize content of the small individual authors without any permission. Usually such sites are specialized internet portals…. Stop! Before I continue allow me a little sentiment.
As you can see I haven’t provided any names in the first two parts. Trust me I do have real names and facts. And I am upset about the plagiarists on a personal level. Yet I’m not about to discuss here my emotions. I’m writing this not for some infantile personal revenge. I write this because… first of all I enjoy writing, I like to write my thoughts down… and secondly, based on my sad experience I find the topic of plagiarism quite important for the public. The third topic is a critical one, since the major internet portals are read by the millions of people. Ergo this is not about my ego, but about a public interest. So, I’m going tо name a couple of “dogs”.
So back to the “dogs”… sorry , back to the internet portals that plagiarize bloggers.
Archdaily.com is one of the largest English language portals dedicated to architecture. It’s an architectural McDonald’s that pushes any kind of info related to the architectural projects. ArchDaily doesn’t give a crap about the quality of it’s content. This internet Goliath is all about quantity. Recently the “goliath” got caught on an obvious plagiarism by the blogger, whose content was shamelessly stolen. Archdaily’s writer has plagiarized the material openly. In a “rat-style”. It’s quite unusual for the dogs. It has resulted in a massive scandal that was reported by the site with the very symbolical name “Stinky Journalism”. The funny thing is that the blogger whose essay was plagiarized happened to be an editor of “Architectural Record” Jenna M. McNight. Oops! Jenna has published a powerful message to the plagiarists. “Architectural Record” stopped syndication of the materials from ArchDaily. (Nice!)… And ArchDaily… got scared! After few days of the gutless silence ArchDaily’s Executive Editor David Basulto has published an apology in which he accepted the fact of plagiarism. Not bad… but! There were few very interesting comments as a reaction to the Basulto’s apology. In those comments bloggers have accused ArchDaily in other cases of plagiarism. Their comments were quickly removed from the site and all you can see now in the “Comments” section are just some fake panegyrics. Archdaily kept cheating immediately after posting an apology. Put it briefly – Tricksters!
Stinky journalism of Archdaily looks relatively well-mannered compare to the shameless thievery by the Russian architectural portal Archi.ru. The portal openly plagiarizes articles and news from the Western media, without any mentioning of the source. The translation is poor and unprofessional, therefore many vital architectural issues are distorted and Russian architects do not get a full picture.* The stolen materials Archi.ru publishes anonymously with some weird initials. It’s a classical trolling. Perhaps Russian portal believes that their educational goals justify dirty plagiaristic means. Sorry, but Russians are not right. I would suggest to the Russian plagiarists from Archi.ru to read Dostoyevsky: “Whole world does not cost one tear of child”.
But what “tear of child” are we talking about in the world of stinky journalism, stolen ideas and cheap plagiarism?!
Here comes the twist. Tricksters of ArchDaily are a bit more decent (if we can use word “decent”) than the thieves from the Russian portal Archi.ru. Archdaily “authors” sign the articles with their full names. Do you want to know the name of the person who’s plagiarized Jenna McNight’s article? Her name is… Irina Vinnitskaya. A Russian name! Maybe now Miss Vinitskaya can work for Archi.ru… Her English is really good.
P.S. Some time ago I had a brief private online discussion about plagiarism with Bob Borson. Bob is probably one of the most interesting and original architectural bloggers in the U.S. He’s wise and intelligent person. I would like to recommend you his essay “Ownership & Plagiarism” I just hope Archi.ru will not steal it now.
P.P.S I dedicate this essay to my J…
*My passage about Archi.ru is not some baseless accusations. Recently I’ve published a special post on my Russian lang. version www.ArchiAlternative.ru. It included a detailed textual analysis of Archi.ru’s new article along with the direct reply from Chief Editor Mr. Khretchko, in which he basically confirms the fact of plagiarism yet refuses to take any responsibility. If you know Russian you can check the link. (I haven’t posted it in English since those “local issues” are not very relevant for the English-speaking readers.)