Crooks and Real Estate and the Internet
My husband used to cover criminal courts as a beat newspaper reporter in Chicago, and he says crooks get caught because many crooks are stupid. Can’t say that I know very many crooks, if any, but my personal feelings are if a person is stupid enough to be a crook when the other choice is to not be a crook, it seems likely that the person is stupid enough to make a stupid mistake.
I’m not talking about the people who are starving for a baloney sandwich and nobody will give them any money as they stand begging at the corner of the freeway, so they swipe a loaf of bread from the corner grocery; I mean the guys who would knife you in an alley and grab your wallet, along with your wedding ring. Or, kick in the door of your home and run off with your big screen TV after pulling out all of your copper plumbing.
Speaking of which, another seller in Sacramento just had his AC unit stolen from the yard while selling his home. I mentioned this to sellers yesterday as I listed their home in Elk Grove. Some people install cages over their exterior AC units. But this couple have a neighbor who kind of sounds like Gladys Kravitz, so they will probably be OK. I have neighbors like that in Land Park, and one of them is a retired police officer. There was once a time when you didn’t want anybody poking a nose into your business, but not so anymore.
Which brings me to the point, and I apologize for the long-about way I went to get here, that not only are we dealing with real-life crooks in Sacramento who are in our faces, but we have crooks who run amuck all over the Internet. These people don’t think of themselves as crooks, which makes it even more challenging. However, they swipe content that belongs to the person who wrote it and post it on their website as original content. That qualifies for crookism.
Now, I think it’s bad enough when a Sacramento real estate agent, for example, hires a professional writer to write a blog for that agent, because that’s not what blogging is about and it’s misrepresentation in my book, but it’s a hundred times worse when they intentionally swipe content.
Imagine my surprise this morning when I came across a response in Trulia that was copied and pasted by an agent in San Francisco, and it was my words that this agent swiped. Not only that, but it was my words from a response to another post I made on Trulia. So, he stole the content from the same website that he plagiarized. Where I, the original author, would likely spot it.
I noticed it because I recognized my own words. Most people don’t write like I write. I string phrases together and use certain words in a way that other people don’t. It’s one of the reasons why About.com hired me. I have a unique voice. And when somebody tries to take it from me, I will put a stop to it.
You can’t take photographs or words or articles that you find online and republish them. Everything online is copyrighted, and to reprint, a person needs permission. You can’t just give credit to the person who wrote the piece, either without obtaining permission. Getty Images is suing a real estate agent because she re-blogged (with permission), another agent’s blog (not mine), and the image in that blog belonged to Getty Images.
The moral to all of this blathering is help the hungry, don’t swipe AC units, and don’t steal online material.