Dear Everyone,

I know that I may seem really naive, and easy going and nice.  However, I feel that its only fair that I share this warning: Don’t Fuck with Me.

Look, I may only be moderately smart, (my parents, husband and random people tell me I’m really smart but my kids tell me I don’t know anything, so that averages out to moderate) but I know this:  when it comes to the written word and intellectual property, folks, there is NO Finders Keepers.

Here’s the scenario:

Let’s say you wrote a blog post that was pretty freaking good, if you didn’t say so yourself.  Let’s say it was one of those posts that flies out of your fingertips, through the keyboard, and smack dab into the world.  Let’s say you thought it was so good that you submitted it to some big websites (such as the Huffington Post) so that lots of people could read it. Especially because within its excellence you were taking a stance against a bunch of bigoted assholes.

So, let’s say lots of people read the post, but you never hear back from any of the big websites, but that’s ok because you write to touch people, not get famous (that’s a bit of a lie, but we’re taking the high road here).

So, let’s say that a couple of weeks later another blog post appears on one of the big sites (such as the Huffington Post) that you submitted to, and that it’s extraordinarily evocative of yours, in theme, but not tone.  Your first reaction is, ‘Hey, someone completely agrees with me. That’s so cool.’  Then, you start to get messages from people saying, ‘Ummm, I just read that blog post and the author’s ideas are curiously similar to yours.’  And, then, someone calls you and says, ‘You are a moron. That blogger isn’t agreeing with you, she copied you. She used your ideas to write her own post. Not to mention, the title is exactly the same as your first line.’

You’re aghast, your chin drops to the desk, your bra pops and your boobs hit the floor. You. Are. Stunned.  You like to believe the best in people, you feel like there’s no way anyone would do that.  You decide to write the editor of the website in question a letter, maybe point out that the two posts were similar, that possibly the blogger read yours and thought your ideas were so interesting that she decided to adapt them and expand on them.  You suggest that maybe it would be a nice gesture for them to just, you  know, link up to your original piece so people knew that she’d borrowed your ideas, maybe apologize and such.

So, that’s the scenario. And its real.   What do you think happened?

Choice a:  The website apologized profusely, admitted their blogger presented my ideas as their own, and added a line linking back to my blog post.

Choice b:  The website never answered the email.

Choice c:  The website blog editor told me that my ideas were neither original nor distinct, and that there was no way his blogger had plagiarized from me or anyone else.

(If you chose a or b you are not even moderately smart like I am. Choose again.)

Hello.  We live in a digital world. Everyone has access to everyone’s everything.  There have to be some standards, some morals, some unspoken rules, maybe a Blogger Code of Ethics, natch.

Thinkers should be able to think and writers should be able to write without worrying that someone somewhere out there in the interwebs will appropriate their thoughts or words as their own.

In this case, since I have no other choice, I will let the whole mess just fade away, lessons learned. I will choose to be impressed that the Editor of the website stood by his blogger, even though he probably should chuck her unoriginal plagiarizing ass to the street.  I will choose to be flattered that my thoughts were so great that someone wanted them to be theirs.

And, most importantly, I will choose to not listen to that jerk who said that I’m neither original nor particularly distinct.

Because, aside from knowing that I’m moderately smart, if there’s one other thing that I’m quite sure of, it’s that I’m completely and totally unique.

So, everyone, next time you think someone’s ideas are fantabulous, and you’d like to share them with your readers, remember to use something called a linkback and you know, do a little shout out. Its easy.  All you have to do is highlight the URL, right click, and then paste the link. Right into your post. Right where you say, ‘This person’s ideas were really fantabulous so I thought I would share them with you.’

Remember kids, don’t steal.  It’s a tiny bit illegal. Not to mention pretty darn dickwaddy.

Have a nice day.






  1. Outrageous that they did this and even more so that they are getting away with it. Screw what they said about you. I have met your fabulous self and you are 100% Original, awesome and fan-freaking-tastic!

  2. Who could do that in good conscience? Argh. Sorry this happened to you Mara. xo

  3. Proud of you for standing up for yourself but wish you could get the credit you deserve.

  4. This makes me so. very. angry.

  5. Am so sorry this happened to you.

  6. The ‘no way his blogger plagiarized’ is like saying never, which is asking for trouble. And the bit about your thoughts not being original or distinct, how would he know that? Is he living in your head? No! So shut up buddy.

  7. Always stand up for yourself. “Way to go”!!!

  8. Care to submit this post to Huff? 😉

  9. Horrible!! I can’t believe they got away with it too!! You are amazing, remember that! <3

  10. That’s seriously awful, Mara! I had something similar happen to me, but it was a spineless blogger who ended up apologizing (after three nasty emails in which she said she had never been to my site). She took 6 paragraphs verbatim, so there was really no question in my case. For the record, you are fantabulous and all that stuff!

    • Its like a virus vs an infection. Seriously, I’d rather she’d taken whole paragraphs. The whole thing would have gone differently.

  11. Erica G says:

    That is so incredibly maddening and you are definitely taking the high road in another charmingly-written piece. The whole ‘give credit where credit is due’ notion is so easy and yet many fail to realize the importance of it, never mind basic common courtesy. Similar issues come up in the world of cakes where some cake artists’ works (photos) are being hijacked and passed off as another’s. Shows people’s lack of genuineness and creativity, sadly, at the expense of those who actually have talent. Kudos to you.

    • It was hard to take the high road. And, you know, you’re right. All that’s necessary is an ‘I read this so I wrote this’ line.’ People need to realize that ideas are just as valuable as actual words.

  12. I cannot believe people do things like this but then again, we shouldn’t be surprised. You are definitely smart and highly unique. I love reading your writing. You are one of the best bloggers out there. So sorry Mara. 🙁

    • Thanks Brandy. That means a lot. I’m not surprised, per se, that people do it, but I am surprised at the reaction I got from the Huff Post Editor.

  13. urgh. You are very good for not naming the blogger. This is total crap.

    • Why would I name her. then you get into a ‘i never did it’ lalala. I know, she knows. we all know. that’s all i need.

  14. Good plan…don’t listen to the jerks. Good for you for standing up for yourself and your work. Criminals aren’t cool kids.

    • They aren’t cool at all. Unless they have the best tattoos and want to make me their bitch. Then, they’re cool. or I’ll let them think they are.

  15. That is unbelievable! I’m so sorry that happened to you. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Yikes!!! So sorry this happened. I often see whole posts of mine as part of ad site things. Doesn’t seem like there’s anything I can do about it.

  17. There’s an organization trying to do something about this sort of thing and similar abuses of writers. It’s called the National Writers Union, and anyone serious about writing should at least give it a look, at

    Here is their self-description, from the website (Yes, copied. WIth attribution.):

    The National Writers Union UAW Local 1981 is the only labor union that represents freelance writers.

    Now, more than ever, with the consolidation of power into the hands of ever-larger corporate entities and with the advent of technologies that facilitate the exploitation of a writer’s work, writers need an organization with the clout and know-how to protect our interests. One that will forge new rules for a new era.

    Combining the strength of more than 1,200 members in our 13 chapters with the support of the United Automobile Workers, the NWU works to advance the economic and working conditions of all writers. Our members also directly benefit from the many valuable services the Union offers—including grievance assistance, contract advice, and much more—while actively contributing to a growing movement of professional freelancers who have banded together to assert their collective power.

    Full disclosure: I have been a member of the NWU for the past 15 years. These are very hard times for freelance writers , but if we work together, we can improve our situation.

  18. I may have to try and use dickwaddy in as many conversations as possible today.
    Of course, I shall tell them that I copied it from a master 😉

  19. It’s so great that we have a medium where we can speak our minds and share our opinions, and while I’ve seen some amazing support out there, it sucks when people abuse the system by taking what’s not theirs. I can’t imagine that it can feel very good to take credit for someone else’s experience. Good for you for taking a stand, Mara! Rock on!

  20. Pam @writewrds says:

    Total tick off. What about doing a screen shot of your story beside hers, highlighting similarity and sending it to him? Huff Post should be called out on this. Seriously. Not cool.

  21. i am shocked they did this & that was their reply. What a sh*tty situation!

  22. Not fair and not fun. You stick it to them, Mara…and because of this, I was introduced to the word: dickwaddy. Thank you. I love it!

  23. Mara – I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this, but I do know two things: 1) you are more than moderately smart and 2) you are anything but unoriginal and non-distinct.

  24. Ass-fucking-hats.
    So sorry this happened to you.


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