Virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader and composer Charles Mingus once said: “They’re singing your praises while stealing your phrases.” And I was reminded of this when some of you, readers and Twitter followers, pointed out a case of plagiarism of one of my latest articles published on this site.
Without permission, someone by the name of Jeff Drouin, a writer (and I use the term loosely), published an almost identical and word for word translation of my article Paul Holmgren Breaks “The Code” on the Dans les Coulisses blog. It happens and usually, on sites like that one where they have several writers, the designated Editor-in-Chief automatically assumes that the article in question is original. Up to this point, there’s nothing wrong or different.
However, when you contact the said Editor and make them aware of the plagiarism, they will fix the situation rather quickly… when they are a respectable site, that is. And sometimes, you get to know the true colours of those running those sites when having to deal with similar issues. So when I approached the Editor by Twitter, he immediately came to the defence of his staff writer, claiming that he linked to my article.
When you read the article, if you understand French, you will notice that the writer in question linked the article on Habsterix.com for credit for Paul Holmgren resigning from his GM position due to the offer sheet to Shea Weber. They didn’t mention that they’ve translated the article and that’s what they refused to understand when I communicated my concerns to them. See for yourselves and you be the judge:
Notice the correlation with breaking the code, camaraderie amongst GMs, unwritten rule, reason for bringing in Ron Hextall, then linked to the Pacioretty story, putting the Flyers in a difficult situation again and finally, Holmgren not having learned his lesson. That’s almost a per verbatim of what I had written.
I tried explaining that the link is giving me credit for the reasons of Holmgren quitting as GM, which is clear in my article that the credit belongs to author Jay Greenberg. They should have given me credit for the article as a translation, due to the fact that it’s a translation of mine. But no, I am wrong according to them. Here are my explanations to DLC on Twitter (if you understand French):
I was told that I shouldn’t read the web as people steal from each other all the time. With that conversation, I saw the true colours of those who run that site and I now know that integrity was not part of their core values. Some people had told me that but you know me, I give people some rope and see if they take advantage of it in a positive manner, or if they use it to hang themselves.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” ~ Oscar Wilde
I would normally not write about little feuds like this one but the total oblivion of what right or wrong, then the denial and even accusations towards me forced me to bring this problem to light. It’s unfortunate as they have had more than their fair share of controversy with traditional media and I see that it now extends to bloggers like yours truly, who do this as a hobby, for fun. Unfortunately, they are trying to take the fun away from it. But I have news for them: it won’t work! I will keep on writing and be opinionated, as proven by this latest opinion piece. For some reasons, I doubt that DLC and his staff would plagiarise this one too.
Oh and for the record, the only people who have my permission to translate my articles to French are my good friends at Hockey Sans Limites. You will see the Holmgren article there and how credit is supposed to be done.
EDIT: Pour l’explication (audio) en français, écoutez mes explications à 1:13:00 environ…