Stolen Words, Again. Sigh…

This morning I opened my social media as I always do-checking in on the pages I administer and the private groups I moderate.

I consider it a sacred duty to watch after the precious hearts who choose to be open and honest and expect a safe, secure space in which to do it.

As I was scrolling and reading, I came across this meme:

From “Unnatural” published August 17, 2016 on thelifeididntchoose.com

No quotation marks, no author cited.

These are MY words written about MY son and very, very personal.

You can read the original post here: https://thelifeididntchoose.com/2016/08/17/unnatural/

I’ve written before about how painful it is when people steal words. Not because I want recognition myself. If that was my desire I’d have collected the posts into a book by now. Not because I seek monetary gain. If that was true, I’d have advertisements or sponsored links. Not because I’m so naive to believe people can’t steal them in this wild, wild world of Internet freedom and piracy.

No. It’s painful because it’s disrespectful of me, my family and my son about whom they are written.

I write and share so that others have words to help their hearts. The only thing I ask in return is that the origin of them is acknowledged.

Is there no shame anywhere?

Is there no honor among parents who also share the pain of child loss?

I can’t imagine that a stranger, ignorant of the burden we bear, snapped up these words randomly to make a meme.

I don’t want to spend my time searching the internet and bereaved parent sites looking for instances where someone has stolen my words and dishonored my son and misused my trust.

I’m not going to do it.

But I am going to publicly point out that it happens.

And if it’s you who has done it-

shame on you!

In Case You Didn’t Know: Why It Hurts To Steal Someone Else’s Words

Over a year ago (maybe two now?) there was an incident in which a bereaved mom took my words and passed them off as her own.  

It was painful.  

Not because I’m pridefully invested in getting credit for the words but because I am emotionally invested in this blog as a record of my own grief journey and as a way to honor my son.  

It’s simply NOT OK to copy/paste and pass another’s words as your own.  

Just the other day a mom posted on a closed site that she had questioned another mom when the words she claimed as her own sounded too familiar.  Mom #1 googled the text and found that, sure enough, it was a direct quote from Angela Miller, a published author and fellow bereaved mother.

Mom # 1 challenged Mom # 2 but was shouted down by others because, after all, “everything is fair game on the Internet”.  

That’s untrue.    

Online publishing is subject to copyright laws as much as print publishing.  The fact that an author is willing to make the work freely available and easily shareable does not remove the obligation to give appropriate credit and use accurate citations.

sharing-economy-650x400

Grief is not a “free pass” to bad behavior.  

This blog is a record of my own grief journey and honors my son and my family.   

What grieving parent would want another person to steal (yes, steal!) his or her expression of the long, dark tunnel that is child loss?  What grieving parent would think that it’s alright to take a beautiful arrangement from the resting place of one child and put it on the resting place of another?

It’s out there, unprotected, in plain view, so what difference does it make?

The same common courtesy we expect to guide behavior in cemeteries should be the same common courtesy we can expect to guide behavior in online grief groups. 

I, and others. put our thoughts and emotions out there for parents to read in the hope that by reading them they will feel less alone.  

Most of us never make a dime from what we write.  

But we hope that whoever reads it, finds it helpful and then shares it, will honor our efforts by acknowledging the source.  We hope they will honor our child by using quotes and leaving his or her name in place.

It’s a beautiful thing to find words to express something deep in your heart.  

Just make sure to let folks know you found them and didn’t author them.  

Such a small act of gratitude for an amazing gift.  

me too sharing the path

Please Share!

I realized after I wrote about the recent incident where someone plagiarized my blog there was a good deal of confusion about HOW to share it appropriately.

I wanted to clear up the confusion.  So here’s how to do it:

  • I post every blog set on “public” on my personal Facebook page.  You are always welcome to share it like any Facebook post which means it will include my original comments and the link to the blog;
  • I post every blog on the public page Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child and it can be shared from there the same way;
  • You can click on the LINK to the blog and use any of the social media buttons at the bottom of the blog to share to the social media platform of your choice (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc.);
  • If you are a WordPress user, you may reblog any post by clicking that button-you will have the option to add personal comments and then the blog will show up on your site with a link back to my original post.

I also post the blog on several closed bereaved parents’ sites on Facebook.  

If that’s where you see it, please click on the link and share from the blog itself to protect the privacy of those sites and the people who belong to them.

A great way to be sure you never miss a post is to sign up to receive blog posts in your email.  Just click on the “follow blog via email” button on the right hand side of any blog post.  

You get the whole post-not just a link that makes you click through.  That’s an easy, fast way to get it every morning without having to get on Facebook.  You can forward the email to friends if you like.

Really the only way NOT to share the blog is by copying and pasting the content and then posting it as your own.

I love, love, love when I get feedback from another bereaved parent that says what I’ve written is what they feel or have experienced.  Not because I wish this pain on a single soul, but because I know others share my pain and I am thankful that sometimes MY words help them put THEIR feelings into a form they can share with others.

So, if a particular post is helpful to you-please DO SHARE.   ❤

 

 

Plagiarism

I write because it’s important to me and because I want to share freely what I feel God is teaching me in this Valley of the Shadow of Death.

I don’t have affiliate links on my blog, don’t sell books, posters or merchandise and have no plans to do so.

But I am jealous of the content I produce.  Not jealous because I think it is of high value but jealous because the words are wrung from ny heart each evening to be posted the next morning.  Jealous because they reflect MY experience, expose MY heart and contain details of MY journey.

In all the time I’ve been sharing, I have never had a post stolen, to my knowledge.  Until the other day when I found another blogger had re-blogged my post, “International Bereaved Mother’s Day” and given credit (appropriately) to where she had found it-on a Facebook page.  

I followed the link and yep, there it was-MY post, copied and pasted changed-only to exclude Dominic’s name and replace it with “child”.  Even the graphic I chose was used.  

I contacted the page and they have agreed to correct the post and add the link to the blog. I appreciate that.  

But in responding to my concerns, the page administrator indicated that it had been found and reposted from another page ( I don’t know which one).  And that upsets me.  

I know social media is risky business and that I can’t stop anyone from doing whatever they want to once I hit “publish”.  But I would ask that in this community of bereaved parents we show one another the respect anyone deserves and honor our individual contributions, whatever they may be.

Taking the words of another and passing them off as your own is plagiarism.  It is wrong and it is hurtful.  

I will keep writing and risking but now I’m on guard and I hate that.  

If you are a regular reader/poster/sharer I ask that you help me watch for this in the future.

I want people to share.  

That’s the purpose of writing-that one more heart my be encouraged or strengthened for another day in this Valley.  So share away!

But please do it honestly 🙂 ❤