It was an incredibly gutsy plan, and it worked. But it didn't stop there. He'd also immediately sue Cracked for rights to the articles, and when he was reported or confronted for plagiarism, he would claim that the article was sent to him by the original author for publication, or that it was plagiarized from him. Cracked doesn't take too kindly to plagiarists, and with good reason. After all, writers at Cracked get paid on a per-article basis, and should their articles be found to be too similar to anything found on the internet, they don't get paid at all.
It's bad enough that writers barely make any money working in the real world, but when their work is ripped off in cyberspace and they end up losing money instead of making it, it's much, much worse.
I'm writing this post to appeal to all those lying, cheating assholes out there: if you don't have anything to write about, don't fucking pass yourselves off as writers.
I do have some respect for the people who try, even with their horrible vocabulary and complete lack of understanding of the rules of grammar, so long as they're writing about their own ideas. But when your ideas are STRIKINGLY SIMILAR to OTHER PEOPLE'S, almost on a point-for-point basis, then I have no respect for you.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I will never, not in any way, be flattered by people who pass off my ideas as their own. Not even in Tweets, or Facebook statuses.
I write for a living, and my writing process also involves bouncing ideas off of other people. And, of course, coincidences happen. But certain acts of plagiarism will always be apparent, and some people will always be serial plagiarists. The timing is impeccable. The arrangement of ideas is spot-on. The content finishes the same way. They probably can't help it -- they see something they like on the internet, and they jump at it. However, they can't just write something of their own or use the original work of inspiration; they don't have the skill to do that.
In some ways, I'm sure we're all plagiarists too, taking inspiration from some of the better writers out there. I know I've been influenced by some strangers on the internet, several Cracked writers, and even my ex-boyfriend's ex, and I may have let some of their writing styles affect my own, but ideas have and always will be off-limits. They've done the world a favor and shared the things that have been going on in their heads -- the least we can do is repay them by respecting their boundaries.
But there are two things to remember about the serial plagiarist:
- They will never admit that they're wrong; but
- They will prove to the world how stupid they are, without your help.
So, dear writer friends, and friends who want to someday make a name for yourselves in the industry, learn to use your chosen medium. Be articulate. Be eloquent. But most of all, just be wary of serial plagiarists. Be vigilant. You'll never know.
I leave you with this one thought: Writers treat their ideas like babies. They give birth to them and bring them into the world at conceptualization; nurse them and nurture them into full-blown masterpieces, and set them out into the world full of hope and optimism. When you steal an idea, you're stealing someone's baby. That's kidnapping, and kidnapping is a crime. So is plagiarism. I don't remember where I was going with this, but you get the point. Just don't do it. It's wrong.