Plagiarizing “Christians” – Thou shall not steal!

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Beware of thieves

It is a sad day indeed when one discovers that someone else is plagiarizing his or her hard work on the internet. However, it’s sadder when a website, professing to be Christian, takes another Christian’s writing and uses it on their page as his or her work without the author’s permission or without giving the author/website credit or recognition.

Such was my recent experience when I discovered a “Christian” website had copied and pasted one of my hubs on their site. I’m not speaking of a few words here and there, but my entire hub, word for word. Thanks to a fellow hubber’s warning, Hunbbel Meer, who wrote a hub exposing a website stealing original work from Hubpage writers. The warning served as a timely reminder to check my work for copyright infringement using copyscape. Copyscape is a great site to check for plagiarism, but you can also use other sites, including Google Alerts. Google Alerts will notify you by e-mail of new contents published based on cleverly search queries you enter.

Sadly, I found it unnecessary for someone to copy my work. Many times I’ve had people contact me asking to use my hubs to share with other Christians, and I have happily conceded every time. Many of my hubs are to warn and teach others, and I do not mind sharing them as long as people do not pass them as their own. But upon discovering that my work had been copied verbatim, and used in a manner without my consent or knowledge, that made me livid. No one likes to see their writings and hard work plastered all over the internet by another person who did not author or coauthored the contents.

If you have ever been a victim of a break-in and had your personal belongings ransacked and stolen, then you know what it feels like to be violated. And that is how anyone that’s been victimized by plagiarism is left feeling after they discover their work has been stolen. It is a feeling that can make you suspicious of anyone, even of people claiming to be Christians. It’s no wonder so many have come to regard Christ followers downright hypocritical and just as crooked as those who are not Christians committing the same crime.

However, in my defense and in defense of many other true Christ followers, not all Christians are this way and we should not be labeled or generalized. Not all who call themselves “Christians” are Christians, and to prove that, I will give you an example of what is not a Christian at the end of this hub. When it comes to stealing, I am sure that the act is wrong in whatever religion one professes to practice. But even if you are not religious, there are government laws that dictate stealing is wrong.

When it comes to “Christians” plagiarizing someone else’s work the Bible has something to say about this. Here’s what two of the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20 has to say, “Thou shalt not steal” and Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.”

Stealing is a criminal offence as well. Now plagiarism, which simply means using another’s original thoughts and ideas as though they were your own, is a violation of US copyright laws and can be considered a felony offense under certain state and federal laws. Therefore, anyone who takes another’s thoughts and ideas as their own is not only breaking two of God’s Ten Commandments but possibly breaking state and federal laws as well.

It is my sentiment, anyone opening or publishing in a website, particularly a Christian website, who feels that he or she has to copy and paste another person’s hard work, should close down their page and give up masquerading as the author of the contents. In the end, they will be discovered and exposed for the impostors they truly are.

Plagiarism is immoral and unethical. Unfortunately, when we display our work on the net, we are also running the risk of our work falling into the hands of every crook in cyberspace. If you find yourself in the same situation as me, there are a few things you can do. One way is filing a DMCA complaint and Hubpages gives excellent advice on how to file a DMCA complaint. A sample of a DMCA letter and other tips can also be found here. It is also a good idea to check your work often in Copyscape. There are other websites you can check for copyright infringement and they can be found by doing a Google search.

Now, for the promised example mentioned above to prove that not all who claim to be Christians are truly Christ followers. The following is my (distasteful) e-mail exchange with the website’s “Christian” administrator who copied my hub. What I find interesting is that the hub he copied and pasted, ironically also applies to him. He also removed my links to other hubbers in Hubpages as to not draw attention to where the article came from. I call that deceitful, and you cannot claim to be teaching truth if you are deceiving others, especially with stolen work.

Furthermore, anyone establishing a web-based or otherwise Christian ministry, with Facebook followers, and involved in evangelizing should know better than to steal another person’s work, even if they think they are doing it for the glory of God. Did I say they think they’re doing it for the glory of God? Hmm, well let’s see… when that person is copying and pasting another writer’s contents and using it as their own, getting hundreds of “like” clicks from Facebook followers, possibly making money from ads in their websites, and enjoying the benefits of a tax-exempt status, it is unlikely that God has anything to do with it, don’t you think?

Now on to the e-mails. I will call this website administrator Mr. W., and will omit from the e-mails his signature, title, favorite scripture, email address, tax-exempt A 501 C 3 non-profit corporation status, tax ID #, telephone number, and his website links (phew!), all which he proudly and arrogantly displays in every one of his e-mails in an attempt to impress and intimidate me.


... and the duel begins!


My letter to the website administrator:

Date: April 5, 2012

To: (name(s) omitted)

From: (name omitted), aka Faithful Daughter

Re: Copyright infringement


This is to notify you that the following page infringes on my copyrighted work: http://www.(omitted).htm. The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on http://faithfuldaughter.hubpages.com/hub/deceptionandfalsedoctrines.

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

Furthermore, I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner.

Please remove said copyrighted work from your website immediately.

(Signature omitted)

aka: Faithful Daughter


Mr. W’s response:

lol, no problem! I hope you receive all the honor glory and praise YOU deserve!!!


My response:

Apparently YOU did not have any problems passing my work as yours for YOUR glory!! It would be nice to do the righteous Godly thing and not copy off of other Christians work and pass it on as your work. You have just broken two of God's Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not steal" and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.”

All you had to do was ask.

(Signature omitted)


Mr. W’s come back:

lol! I certainly don't want to covet YOUR ass! Again may YOU receive all honor and glory. I never once passed that on as my own EVER!!

(Signature omitted)


My response:

Very Christian of you with that language. Do you praise God with the same mouth? Furthermore, when you do not give author/website credit or recognition, YOU ARE passing it on as YOUR own!! The copyright text at the end of the article explains it very clearly, or did you not read that? How convenient.

This is all I have to say on this and will not respond to anymore of your self-righteous rants.

God bless you!

(Signature omitted)


Mr. W’s reply (determined to have the last word):

"self-righteous rants" LOL LOL LOL from the person who wants all the glory, praise and honor!!! And just for the record responding to email's is NOT a rant!!!! And thank you so much for the promise of not responding!!!And for the GREAT laugh today. (Mr. W. includes several emoticons with their tongues out)

(Signature omitted)

Me:

((No response))


As you can see Mr. W is not the brightest crayon in the box and not only is he a thief, but he lacks integrity, conviction and humility among many other Godly attributes. A simple “I will remove the content” would have been sufficient. Instead, Mr. W was defensive, offensive, unremorseful, and tried to turn the issue around by accusing me of wanting all the honor, glory, and praise instead of giving it to God.

Do you think Mr. W. was in the right using my hub in his website without my consent or knowledge because it was for a Christian cause?

See results without voting

It is apparent Mr. W. felt he was in the right, and was giving God all the glory by doing what he did. But Mr. W. is missing a minor detail here— stealing! How is stealing what I wrote and posting it in his website glorifying God? If Mr. W. wanted to give glory to God, he could have written his own article and not taken my words and thoughts. Moreover, I find Mr. W’s pride and moronic immature attitude (hardly a Christ-like behavior) prove he is not someone people should be following as a disciple of Christ, yet he has a ministry with many followers? Scary if you stop to think about it.

Mr. W. will probably be visiting me again, if he does, I hope he reads this hub. Stealing is stealing and using God as an excuse is wrong!

If you would like to get more information on anything in this hub, you may contact me through Hubpages.


© Faithful Daughter

All rights reserved. Any redistribution, reproduction, republishing, rebroadcasting or rewriting of part or all of the contents in any form or manner is prohibited without the express written consent of the author and owner, Faithful Daughter.
All rights reserved. Any redistribution, reproduction, republishing, rebroadcasting or rewriting of part or all of the contents in any form or manner is prohibited without the express written consent of the author and owner, Faithful Daughter. | Source

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Comments 34 comments

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Wow. That man is certainly a false teacher and a wolf in the sheep pen. His entire behavior from the theft to his response to you is unacceptable in any forum. The entire website, magazine or anything else he touches loses integrity. I will contact you if you don't mind to ask the name of the website. I also write a lot of Christian material here on HubPages. I fear he may have some of mine. Thank you. I think you handled this situation well.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Hyphenbird,

Sure, e-mail me. And you are absolutely right! He is a wolf in the sheep pen, a filthy and vulgar one at that. All his replies where full of LOL's, capital letters, and exclamation points, making a mockery of everything I was saying. If only his Christian followers knew his true nature behind all the façade.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

FD,

Thanks for letting us all know to be careful. Sorry it had to be you. Thank you also for standing up for what's right. Oh, and I love your description of Mr. W.--"As you can see Mr. W is not the brightest crayon in the box." Obviously you got that one right! Keep on keeping on!


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Lifegate,

You are welcome! Thank you for your sympathy, but maybe it was all in God's plan. When I discovered this, I was mortified, and by the looks of his webpage, I have a strong feeling this man has taken writings from other Christians as well.

I'm glad you liked the association I made with the crayon box :)


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Hi Faithful Daughter. I did email you and soon as I get the information, will go see if this wolf has stolen any of my articles. He most likely has plundered all of HubPages since he got yours from here. I will let you know if I see anymore on his site.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Hi Hyphenbird,

I'll be looking for your e-mail. I haven't received anything from Hubpages yet.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

How odd. I will send it again. Thanks


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Ok, I finally got your email. Check your inbox. Hope you received it. If not, let me know.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I did get it. Thank you. I visited his website. Your finding him must have scared him into removing all the plagiarized Hubs. I didn't see any and the HubPage link on there is not live. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention. This man feels wrong just reading his blog. I hope innocents are not drawn into his web.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

The last time I looked, he had a couple left on his page. The links were on the left side of his main page. Maybe after all this, he'd think twice before taking someone elses' writings. And you're right about reading his blog and him feeling wrong.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

You certainly have done a Good Deed for all of us here on Hub Pages in letting us know... The thought that someone would steel our Creativity, our Thoughts, and Time and Effort and call it their own. What a Creep he was. Good, Informative Hub my Friend.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Thanks b.Malin,

Creep indeed! Like I said to him in my e-mail, all he had to do was ask. I wouldn't have minded sharing, as long as he would have mentioned from where he got the hub, but he just took it and disabled the links I had to Hubpages as to not hint where he got the article from. Then he claims he never once passed that on as his? If that’s so, then why did he disable my Hubpages links? He knew exactly what he was doing.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

Hi Faithful Daughter. This is really a shame. Mr. W. should have acknowledged his wrongdoing and apologized. Thanks for sharing!


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Hi Dexter,

Thanks for your comment. I agree, he should have apologized. A little humility does not hurt anyone but helps us grow in Christ. I still forgave him though.


Annette R. Smith profile image

Annette R. Smith 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

Some of my articles have been plagiarized in the past, although I didn't find them on "Christian" websites. But I can certainly appreciate your frustrations, and the fact that this blogger calls himself a Christian angers me. Thank you, Faithful Daughter, for bringing this to our attention.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Annette,

Thanks for stopping by. I feel for you. It is an awful feeling seeing your hard work plastered on someone else's website without your consent or knowledge, or without any reference where they got the article.

After I wrote this article I found more of my Christian writings posted on other people's websites and blogs as if they were theirs. I had a hard time getting them to remove the articles. In the end, they did remove them but it was quite a learning experience, one of them being that just because they claim they are Christians does not necessarily mean they are Christians. I also learned valuable information on how to research domains and other ways to find who to contact. Maybe I'll write a hub on it some day.


BD 4 years ago

Wow. You people are amazing. You purport to be Christians. And modern day Christians you plainly are. The Bible teaches that the spread of God's word is a holy and riteous act. Why then do you care about plagiarism when it comes to spreading Christian doctrine? Selfishness and pride. Both against Jesus's teachings. Hypocrites.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

BD,

The Bible teaches to spread God's Word, NOT other Christians' writings. Since when does the Bible teach that you must steal and then spread what you steal? Selfishness, pride, and hypocrites you say? That's the same question I pose of those who claim to be Christians and plagiarize other people's work. I see that you have no problem taking other people's work in the name of God. I then ask what kind of Christian are you that see nothing wrong with stealing other people's hard work.


SirDent 4 years ago

Been there done that!!! Had one send me an email telling me if I didn't want my poems copied, that I should not publish them on the internet. Every poem I have written I put a notice saying it is OK to print it out for personal use but not allowed to publish it anywhere else. Good hub and a nice rant too without getting too far gone with it.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

SirDent,

Thanks for your comment. There is a big difference between using someone's writings for personal use and posting or publishing other people's writings as your own. Some people sadly do not know or do not care when they have stepped over the boundary. Just because it's on the internet does not give anyone the right to copy other people's work and publish it as theirs. Whether it's Christian writings or any form of writing, it is against the law to plagiarize.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Not only is this man a dim-wit with a lack of integrity, conviction and humility, but a first-rate Hypo-Christian to boot. Wander how his emoticons would've looked had you not been the lady you are Becky. Business' and individuals better be careful extending any credit as he'd certainly consider the loan his God-given right to claim as a donation to himself. Hope you've seen the last of this loser Becky.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Alastar,

It's nice to have you visit!

You are right. This man lacks many (Godly) traits. He is shameless! If only his Christian followers knew the sort of character he is, he'd not only lose them but many of the perks he's getting with his self-righteous and self-appointed position.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Certainly is shameless. Forgive the name slip Faithful, know you will.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

I forgive you Alastar :)

My friends call me Evi, and that includes you.


chrisinhawaii 4 years ago

What a jerk! And then he tried to twist it around and accuse you of being prideful?! Wow. Just...wow.

Still, I do have to admit that as I was reading your hub, I could imagine Jesus saying, "...and if anyone tries to plagiarize your Hub, let him plagiarize your Lens as well..." =)

...or maybe Paul (Phil.1:18):

"But that doesn't matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice."

As dishonest (and illegal) as it was, perhaps some good may have come from it? Maybe somebody read it on that other site and was impacted in some way by it...

Aloha!


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Hi Chrisinhawaii,

I had to laugh when you said "...and if anyone tries to plagiarize your Hub, let him plagiarize your Lens as well..."

You are right in everything you said. The man is a jerk and prideful. His intentions may have been dishonest but God does turn everything around for the good. I know in my heart that anyone who read the hub he copied benefited in some way, even if it was just one person who read it. Who knows, it may have brought peace and an answer to someone who desperately needed it.

Ever prayed that God would use you for His glory and in a mighty way? Well, be ready for that because He will use us and sometimes in ways we may not like but if it serves His kingdom, then that's all that matters; it's not about us but about Him.

Thank you for stopping by all the way from Hawaii. God bless!


Truthseeker2012 4 years ago

Dear Faithful Daughter

I am torn by how Mr. W handled the situation; I do not know his intent, but his display of character is what bother me most.

When I was very young in Christ, I, fascinated by the love words spoken from others to give encouragement; I did not believe I could speak like that and have the effect that the words had on me, through my lack of confidence in myself. So I too was guilty of sharing others writings as though they were my own, because I needed people to see I could share the gospel. As I previously indicated, I was young and if I left out, ignorant, as well as excited on how those words affected me, still I was wrong.

I say this to you, because now years older and coming to understand that people works should be known, not for self recognition, fame, etc., simply it is their just reward and it continues to allow them to know that their writing are being a blessing to others.

I apologize for Mr. W's behavior, even though I have not ever seen his blog or know him. I do believe that in his arrogance of not humbly apologizing, showed that what he is doing himself is for self-glory, for if it was to bring glory to God, he would have been convicted and made known to you his true intention.

I would like to apologize for when I used another words as those of my own, and pray that they will forgive me. I now know that in all things that belong to another we should ask their permission, even if they do not mine if we do not ask; better safe than sorry...

Thank you for your humble and beautiful spirit in handling the situation; surely, you just wanted Mr. W to do the right thing. You sought no harm to him, such as we who believe seek not to do.

We can all learn from your experience and I too pray that they will bless those who received your words from Mr. W. to God's glory.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Truthseeker2012,

Thank you for your humble confession and for apologizing for the man, who apparently has no conviction. Regardless of what this man did and said to me, I already forgave him. I have to forgive him if I want to be forgiven for my sins. Maybe what happened was in God's plan.

You have a beautiful and gentle heart, so do not be too hard on yourself; we all make mistakes. It is how we proceed with our mistakes when they are brought to light that exposes what is really in our hearts and who we are truly serving. In Psalm 25:7, King David asks God with a contrite heart to forgive the sins and errors of his youth. As you know, David made many mistakes but because he was humble, and fervently and continually sought out God's countenance, he held a special place in God's heart (Acts 13:22). I pray that you and I have a special place in God's heart just like King David.

Thank you for stopping by and lifting my spirit with your comment. God bless you!


Logos831 profile image

Logos831 4 years ago from somewhere, ca

Wow, what an interesting story. Clearly this guy is not a Christ-follower with that language and attitude. That is sad to hear from someone who owns a "Christian website". I really respect how you handled the situation though. You remained civil and responded just like Christ would- by directly calling out their wrongdoing with reference to Scripture and with a humble and gentle attitude.

I was further surprised by your poll to see there were people who disagreed with you! Wow. Jesus never let people walk all over him or get away with disrespecting him. He responded with truth and righteousness but never with a self-seeking or arrogant attitude. We shouldn't be afraid to call out sin to fellow Christians as long as we are doing it from a right heart and humble attitude. Of course God can use wrongdoing for good and I'm sure he did in this case, but we should still not excuse the wrongdoing.

I am kind've curious to see this guy's site though I know you couldn't post the link here!


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Logos831,

Thank you for your encouraging comment. Just when I think I have seen it all, something will pop up and surprise me. I believe this man is a pastor, which makes it worse.

As to the poll, no surprise there. I had a Christian leave me comment of how selfish and prideful we are for caring about plagiarism. My response was what kind of a Christian doesn't see this as stealing and as wrong? I believe that person was the one who took a vote against me. It's sad that people would use God for their glorification and then try to turn it around on those who point out the error in their ways. However, I am not their judge but they will be judged by the Almighty.


Man from Modesto profile image

Man from Modesto 4 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

One of my early hubs was a college essay on apartheid and corporate business in S. Africa. It regularly received dozens of views. It was in the top 3 Google results for "CalTex South Africa"- a very popular case study for business students.

Two scraping sites stole it and my views plummeted after I edited the hub and HP changed the publish date so that my article then appeared newer than their copies. (I didn't know it had been scraped, or that editing would have any adverse outcomes.)

I filed a DMCA. Google responded they looked at the sites, and would do nothing, no explanation.

After an edit overhaul, I now get about a tenth of former views.

I have had Christian teachings of mine stolen by others on YouTube. I didn't care, honestly, since the message was being propogated. The only time I did care was when "Third Eagle Books", a bogus false (Catholic) prophet, stole several of the video topics. One was a message received by a friend on the East Coast. The man believes he is, literally, the man referenced by the phrase "third eagle" in the book of the Apocalypse (Revelation, in contemporary times).

Since I absolutely do not want to support his "ministry", I certainly did not appreciate the pilfering.

Still, I prayed for him. After all, that is all that separates us from the murderers, who also love one another.

Peace.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Man from Modesto,

It is disheartening and discouraging to see your hard work stolen by people without dignity and morals, and not be able to salvage your work. I am sure you could pursue this legally if you still want to do something about it.

It is very noble of you to allow others to take your Christian teachings and post them in YouTube, but you should ask yourself this, aren't you condoning theft by permitting this, especially from those claiming to be Christians? I am sure the Lord will use even the wicked for His Kingdom, and that’s a choice I'll leave to the individual and to how they are led by the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit places it in your heart to allow the incident, then we must be obedient. We must use discernment.

However, in my case, the people who had taken my Christian writings were calling themselves "pastors" and "elders." We need to expose darkness. These people copying my Christian writings were not doing it for God but for their glorification.

On the other hand, I have allowed people to print my work and share with others. I’ve allowed them to share my link in their Facebook page and their websites, and to use it in their ministry and teachings, but they are doing it for the Kingdom of God.

Those who’ve hurt me, I have forgiven and have prayed for them. I hold no anger towards any of them.

You are a true child of God, thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings in my hub.


Cherry4 profile image

Cherry4 4 years ago from New York

please let me know who is mr w and what has happened to you also happened to me on another site but guess what all that they do they cannot steal your favor or anointing and copying would not get them any place with God.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Cherry4,

I am sorry this has happened to you. I know how you feel, and you are right they can steal our writings but not our annointing. I will e-mail you the information via Hubpages' e-mail, since I feel I should not post it here.

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