India Uncut

This blog has moved to its own domain. Please visit for the all-new India Uncut and bookmark it. The new site has much more content and some new sections, and you can read about them here and here. You can subscribe to full RSS feeds of all the sections from here. This blogspot site will no longer be updated, except in case of emergencies, if the main site suffers a prolonged outage. Thanks - Amit.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

'Bleep's' explanation

Update (May 27, 2005): I'm replacing the protagonist's name in this story with [bleep]. He's moved on, and I don't see why his past should haunt him forever.

[Final update: This matter is resolved. Please read [bleep]'s apology.]

By now you’re familiar with the story: first, a group of us Indian bloggers outed a gentleman named [bleep] on plagiarism, when we found that one-and-a-half years’ worth of posts on his blog were lifted; then, we uncovered other shady activities on his other websites, including one possibly involving credit cards.

Well, it was only fair that we heard what [bleep] himself had to say about all this, so one of us duly called him last night ([bleep's] Monday morning), and asked him to write to us if he had any explanation. He did.

About the plagiarism charges, he said that he was utterly unaware that copyright exists on the internet. In his mail, he said, “I was under the impression that blogs were non-copyrighted material !!! [sic]” (All blogs, regardless of whether or not they post a copyright notice, are copyrighted intellectual property; click here for more – link courtesy MadMan.) Ignorance of the law does not hold up in any court, and if he really was ignorant, would he go to the extent of carefully modifying his copied posts to avoid detection, as a fellow blogger pointed out?

By now, of course, his blog had vanished, replaced by a rant on his homepage that called us “bad” and “evil”: here it is [dead link removed; was at http://www.[BLEEP].com/), and in case that changes later, here’s a copy of it on a fellow blogger’s blog.

As for the credit-card mechanism, he did not mention that in the mail, but had said to the friend who called him that it was faulty software, and not a scam. That raised many questions among my fellow bloggers. Why was it accepting credit-card information at all, then? Why was it that you could leave all the fields in that form empty, and fill in a wrong credit-card number, and it would prompt you only to fill in a valid credit-card number? And why was it that in the 12 hours since we called him, I have got mail after phishing mail in my inbox, most purporting to be from Paypal, asking for my credit-card details?

We decided not to delve into that. We had done our job bringing it to wider notice, and our role regarding the credit-card thingie ended there. But one of us, Shanti, was a victim of his plagiarism. So we replied to him and asked him to simply put up an apology on his homepage, to all those people he had stolen content from. I assured him that if he did that, we would all link to the apology and state that as far as we were concerned, it was an honest mistake, and the matter was over. Also, if he had a reasonable explanation for the credit-card affair, we would post that on our blogs as well. End of story, closure.

[Bleep] has asked till the weekend to send us a reply. If he does, we shall post it. As it happens, none of the plagiarised content is online any more, so unless it goes back up, the matter is closed for us anyway. As for those phishing emails – I haven’t got any in all my months with gmail before this – that could well be a coincidence. After all, yesterday was the grimmest day of the year! (Link via Instapundit.)

Update – More from fellow bloggers:
Is ignorance bliss? by Patrix
amit varma, 1:48 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

I recommend: