Are You Sure Your Company Blog is Legal? (Or Why I Busted Someone For Plagiarism)

I know I go by the name Evil HR Lady, but that’s more tongue-in-cheek and a reflection on the negative attitude people have towards HR people in general. Plus, who would read a column written by the Warm and Fuzzy HR Lady? Not you, I’m sure.

But, honestly, I’m a nice person and I help people out. I answer far more questions than I publish and genuinely hope that my readers get jobs, keep jobs, get promoted, and get along with their strange coworkers. But, niceness has it’s limits, and that’s why when I found a company blog that consisted largely of poorly plagiarized Evil HR Lady columns, I had to act.

I called the main company switchboard and asked to speak to the person whose name was on the blogs. He was on vacation, so I left a message telling him who I am and that plagiarizing my articles was a “jerky” thing to do and to please email me. (Yes, that is as strong as my language gets. Turns out I am warm and fuzzy.)

Well, yesterday I got a very apologetic email. Turns out that the person I contacted was the boss of the actual blog “writer.” The perpetrator wrote, in part

If it is any consolation, please be aware that I received a serious disciplinary action as consequence of my actions.

Interestingly enough, if this person worked for me, the disciplinary action would have been termination, but I feel slightly bad for getting this person in trouble. Not that she didn’t deserve it. She did. Stealing numerous articles, changing a few words here and there, and posting it on a website that represents a company should be a fireable offense.

I did reply to the confessional email and asked:

To keep reading, click here: Are You Sure Your Company Blog is Legal? (Or Why I Busted Someone For Plagiarism)

And, yes, this is from the archives. I stumbled up on it today, and Inc is still down and I have all this new content there, just waiting for the site to come back! So it’s a rerun today, but I promise this is a really good rerun. And I don’t even work for CBS anymore, so I don’t benefit from sharing this in any way, except the joy of sharing a good story.

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One thought on “Are You Sure Your Company Blog is Legal? (Or Why I Busted Someone For Plagiarism)

  1. In a way, the use of quotes and articles is a form of flattery, but notation should also include a link to where the information came from. Maybe I am a bit old fashion, but plagiarizing from a publicized source is not acceptable unless you post the source in footnotes, etc. Has cheating by quoting other people’s words as your own become an acceptable way to post or blog in today’s world? I remember people failing on reports because they did this, in fact, teachers would recognize the reports as copies and fail the person for not writing the report themselves in their own style of wording.
    Blogging is a form of writing that is publicized on the internet versus being put out as a book or ebook. And the blogger, themselves, keep a journal log on their computer files as records. These blogs are available to read the same as anything to read on the internet but just because you read them doesn’t make the source free to copy without posting your source. Whoever did the quoting so frivolusly is extremely lucky to have gotten just a writeup.

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