“I’m Sorry If I Offended You By Stealing Your Work”

Well, another politician has been caught exposing his ignorance on just how these internets work — and how powerful the blogosphere can be when it’s properly riled up on its own home turf.

Minnesota Republican Party Vice Chairman Michael Barrett thought it would be a neat idea to start his own blog, to spread his thoughts and ideas and whatnot. No big deal; it’s why I blog, too.

But Mr. Barrett apparently didn’t realize just how big the blogosphere is — or how fast things can get around.

Mr. Barrett started posting articles (occasionally with a slight bit of editing) he found on other blogs that he found interesting. Again, no big deal — a lot of people do that.

Where he went wrong is that he didn’t give credit when he did that.

There’s a polite term for that sort of thing. It’s called “lifting.”

The less than polite, but more precise, term would be “plagiarizing.”

The legalistic term would be “infringement of copyright.”

But I’m occasionally impolite, imprecise, and not a lawyer. The term I tend to use is “lowlife thieving scumbag sack of shit.”

He’s offered the standard mea culpa. In it, he manages to spin some rather remarkable fabrications.

I don’t really need to Fisk Barrett’s non-apology; one of his victims, “doubleplusundead,” does so quite thoroughly.

I’ve had this happen to me a few times. Every now and then, I’ll salt one of my entries with a very distinctive turn of phrase as “Google bait,” and then a day or two later run that through Google or Technorati and see who’s ripping me off. It’s my version of a Canary Trap, and I’ve busted a few scumbags doing it. (Most recently one dipshit who’d been posting a steady stream of Wizbang articles over at myLot, the pay-for-blogging site, for about eight months.)

Mr. Barrett appears to have retired from blogging in light of his being busted as a lowlife thieving scumbag sack of shit serial plagiarist — but not before offering the standard quarter-assed (it doesn’t even qualify as half-assed) “(f)or those offended, please accept my sincerest apologies.”

That doesn’t cut it, pal. You knew how to find the people you ripped off in order to steal their material; the least you could do is apologize to them by name. After all, if you thought your readers might enjoy their material enough to steal it, then maybe your readers might enjoy to continue to read it after your retirement — and from the actual authors.

Goodbye, Mr. Barrett. And good riddance.

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