Plagiarism is for Amateurs

Aug 25, 2016

Missy Mwac

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Plagiarism is for Amateurs

Aug 25, 2016

Missy Mwac

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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I’m fussy today.

And it’s not because I ran out of coffee; it’s not because I didn’t get a proper night’s sleep, and it’s not because I’m worried Gary Johnson won’t be given a chance to participate in the Presidential debates, although that last one is a concern.

I am fussy because, once again, a leader in the photography industry committed plagiarism on her blog, Facebook account and website. Yes, that’s right; I said “again.” As in, it has happened before, more than once. Not a straight copy and paste, because that would be way too obvious, of course. The clever plagiarists among us know to avoid that. Instead, they find brilliant writings, sources of inspiration and motivation, and move bits and pieces around. They change a few words, add a few of their own, while keeping the structure, the bones of the writing, intact.

And having done that, they share it with their followers (oh, how I dislike that word) sit back, and accept the praise and kudos for having written something so inspirational. So life changing. So profound.

And of course, it MUST be inspirational, for in the case of the Clever Plagiarizer, she has classes to sell. Mentoring. Coaching. A new business teaching you how to Brand, and a new class teaching you how to successfully Instagram, including…wait for it…how to CAPTION YOUR IMAGES. (I read the article assuming that “Find something brilliant someone else has written, copy it and take credit for it,” would be one of the steps, but, alas, that was missing.)

It’s become a game, this zeal for Celebrity Status. We have photography rockSTARS preaching at the pulpit of Authenticity who have plagiarized the sermon. We have folks treating those in the photography industry as mindless puppets, lobotomized sheep who dutifully put their hard earned money in the collection plate as they worship at the Church of Hypocrisy. We have people idolizing a facade. It’s like a movie set where what you see from the front is beautifully decorated and oh, so realistic, but go around back and you find it’s nothing but foam, plywood and crumpled up bags of trash from yesterday’s lunch.

And when the Clever Plagiarist is caught, as most are, a wall of defiance arises, for they often will not remove the plagiarized material, but instead, remove the comments that point out the plagiarism. And if that doesn’t work, they will blame the intern, the assistant, the tooth fairy, aliens, Donald Trump’s hair, Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits and chronic cough, and when all else fails and all excuses have fallen flat, the blame will be placed with <insert emotional tears here> “My desire to give back so much to everyone led me to a lapse in judgement.”

And to be sure, there will be many who defend the plagiarism. Many.
“Oh, what’s the big deal?” they argue. “It’s not like it’s EVERY article and most of the stuff she writes isn’t plagiarized.”

Yeah, that’s not quite an airtight argument. That’s like saying that MOST of the furniture in my house isn’t stolen. Hey-oh!

Dear Baby Jesus in a Manger…people, wake up! You are smarter than this.

Stop idolizing those who simply know how to play the game to make money.

Stop making heroes of those who hide behind a facade.

Refuse to accept the fake, the phony.

Speak up when you see something you know is not right, otherwise nothing changes.

Give respectful disagreement toward those who so desperately want to be idolized and praised that they cease to be honest, but do not give them your money.
And for heaven’s sake, do NOT run out of wine. You’re gonna need it.

To paraphrase Kevin McCallister in “Home Alone:” This is OUR industry. We have to defend it.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Missy Mwac is a photographer/eater of bacon/drinker of vodka and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. You can follow her social media links here: Facebook, Tumblr. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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9 responses to “Plagiarism is for Amateurs”

  1. Kevin Blackburn Avatar
    Kevin Blackburn

    And yet your doing the very thing your complaining about?????? You are by far not the first to say any of this or point it out and here is a news flash ITS ALL BEEN DONE there is no original I will send you the link to my article on the matter if you like :-)

  2. catlett Avatar
    catlett

    Wow what a hard hitting article you have written. You really told her … whoever she is. Translated in case you don’t get it. This is a big nothing without having the guts to say who you are calling out.

    1. Joe B Avatar
      Joe B

      Just so we understand what she’s talking about, here’s a link to the article on photos stealers
      http://stopstealingphotos.com/jasmine-star-part/

      1. catlett Avatar
        catlett

        Hilarious so THIS author essentially steals the thread from Photo Stealers wtihout citing them. Priceless.

  3. HyperJ Avatar
    HyperJ

    There’s a whole spectrum between plagiarism and borrowing of ideas. What you are complaining about is clearly (IMO) closer to the LATTER.

    > And for heaven’s sake, do NOT run out of wine. You’re gonna need it.

    There’s plenty of whine to go around here, it seems.

  4. Sean Avatar
    Sean

    It’s only plagerism if you use a significant portion of someone elses work. Certain phrases that are common (or common for the subject matter) tend to pop up. Also, IDEAS can’t be truely plagiarized. Which is what it seems you are going on about. I love your rants, Missy, but sometimes you are truly over the top and self-righteous in your opinion of our industry. Sure there are Rockstars…so what? Jealous much? You seem to go on and on about them. There are rockstars in every field…and the saying is still applicable…those who can succeed, those who can’t fail, and those who are mediocre teach.

  5. Dorcas Eatch Avatar
    Dorcas Eatch

    I don’t agree with trial by internet. This could be me unless you tell me otherwise, see email I sent. If it is, you have facts wrong and this link will take you to the whole story. I’ve been hounded for the last year for paraphrasing a technical sentence, not poetry, about using wide angle lenses for big vistas and close up lens for macro, I now have a cyberstalker who thinks it’s funny to say he’s coming to visit near me.

    I do hope you have both sides of the story and it is not based on hearsay as I would hate that person to go what I have gone through http://yorkshirelandscapephotography.com/lizzieshepherdphotography/

  6. Dorcas Eatch Avatar
    Dorcas Eatch

    ps the issue was solved on the day, I asked them to stop over 50 times but they kept on harassing me. Any reasonable person would have stopped.

  7. Dorcas Eatch Avatar
    Dorcas Eatch

    Thank you that’s a relief

    Hi Dorcas,

    Thank you for reaching out and I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve had such an unpleasant experience with someone cyber stalking you.

    Pixsy has linked a handful of posts on Twitter and mentioned the topic in a blog post, with inspiration from a variety of sources. I’ve checked in with our marketing team; they’ve shared that your story was not a source of inspiration.

    I hope I’ve assuaged your concerns. If you still have questions, I invite you to reach out.

    Cheers,
    Katie
    Support at Pixsy – Find and fight image theft.