Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Form of Flattery

That's what they say about imitation--it's the sincerest form of flattery. That doesn't, however, extend to plagiarism and copyright theft. At, several people posted to the writers forum there today to say their articles had been stolen verbatim and posted at It has happened with at least two articles, possibly a dozen. One of the authors effected found that general-finance didn't get them directly from Suite, but from another, content-washing site which posted them all with a date one day before they were posted on Suite, making it appear that a dozen different Suite authors stole work from this other site. Yeah, right.

This didn't affect me, but it did make my get off my lazy cyber-butt and set up a few Google Alerts. This is a tool that helps you spot copyright theft automatically using their powerful search spiders. I set up three alerts: one for my name, and two for phrases in two of my articles. I set them up to report as an event was found. We'll see what happens. Nothing so far.

I set up one alert for my name. Then I decided to Google my name and see what I get. I do this from time to time, also for my Internet pseudonym, Norman D Gutter. Today I found at least five other David A. Todds: a doctor in California who writes about secretions from nipples; a welder in Texas who makes political contributions to the Republican party; an engineer in Texas; a civil engineer in Oklahoma City--with his own firm; and another I can't remember right now. Oh, now I remember: someone with a home for sale in Florissant, MO.

Several of the search hits were to my writings, including one that appeared in American Profile magazine, the Sunday newspaper insert that competes with Parade Magazine, in 2004. What I wrote and sent to them was:

America, settled by those who thought freedom more important than comfort, was forged to nationhood through the concept that men can govern themselves, if only they adopt excellent laws, then embrace them.

The best citizen puts ethics before law, law before gain, nation before self.

What they put in the magazine was:

The best citizen puts ethics before law, law before gain, nation before self.

That was close enough I didn't gripe about it. Now, as I Googled my name, I found this latter statement at a number of places, normally with attribution to me. Here are some of the links:

The News-Sun forums.


Yahoo Answers

MaybeNow Answers

Then I decided to do a Google search for a key phrase in my published quote, and found this site in addition. [If you go to the site, you have to scroll down to near the end to see my words, slightly modified.] So, I suppose I should be flattered to think that this young man saw my words, thought enough of them to post them as his own. I guess I'll let him get away with it for now. After all, I can easily prove they are my words if I ever have to.

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