Prologue: When Loye Young, an adjunct professor at Texas A&M, caught his students cheating, he publicly failed and punished them by publishing their names and records on his course blog, as well as his personal blog, for anyone to see. This move was in keeping with a promise he made at the start of the semester saying "I will promptly and publicly fail and humiliate anyone caught lying, cheating, or stealing. That includes academic dishonesty, copyright violations, software piracy, or any other form of dishonesty." For his unorthodox, (I'll say Batman-esque), methods of dealing with plagiarists, he was fired. The students, on the other hand, have not been expelled. This post is, in part, for you, Professor Young.
Like Professor Young, I don't like plagiarists. Also like Professor Young, I am an ardent supporter of less-than-conventional means of punishment. Unlike Professor Young, though, I do not want to get fired, so let me state for the record that I had nothing to do with any of the immature examples of retaliation you will soon read about in this article. I can't imagine who might be responsible.
Someone handsome and witty, I'd guess, and with just a hint of Spider-Man-like qualities.
El Grafico, a Mexican Newspaper, stole Jeff Kelly's article on Sex Myths Explained by Science. Even though they're getting traffic and ad sales due to the article, El Grafico didn't come up with the idea- Jeff did. And they didn't do the research- Jeff did. Hey, you know what else they didn't do?
They didn't upload their own images.
They linked directly to our images. The images in
our server, that we have access to. For those not too familiar with how image hosting works, this basically means that, if we make any changes to the images on our end, the new, edited images would show up on their site. (It's explained a little bit better in this article.)
With this in mind, it would appear that any clever, enterprising and well-endowed Cracked employee could easily alter those images, as sort of a public embarrassment to El Grafico for being such lazy, thieving fucking cowards.
Now, I'm not saying I would do this- though I do fit all the aforementioned criteria- I'm just not really tech-savvy enough. I couldn't, say, look at their article where they've linked to one of our images...
...and subtly alter it in anyway.
Nope. Wouldn't know anything about that. I'll admit, it sure is funny, though. And clever. Let's see what other neat little photoshopping tricks I wouldn’t know anything about.
Before proceeding, I'd like to point out that, regardless of whether or not the
article in question is taken down by the time of this publishing these are actual screengrabs from El Grafico's actual website (Editor's Note: It has not been taken down as of 9:20 AM EST. You can still see these images up on the actual article at the above link.).
Boy, that El Grafico sure does seem to love Nazis. But, again, I wouldn't know anything about this image-tampering. I certainly wouldn't know who's enormous dick shadow that is, looming ominously over that happy couple, (though if I did know anything, I would add that there's plenty more where that came from).
Alright, let's see what other images show up on their article.
Hey, is that Disco Bernie, the World's Oldest Male Stripper? It is! At first glance, he might seem like an inappropriate image choice for this article, but, you should know, the literal translation of "El Grafico" is "We Love Cocks and Nazis," so it's actually a perfect fit.
Okay, the next entry on the list is about cousins. Now, in
our version of this article, we used a picture of George Michael and Maeby from
Arrested Development. Let's see what El Grafico went with.
Hitler again? The Nazi's lost, El Grafico, get over it already. Sheesh! Also, Hitler marrying a horse? I'm with whatever sexy and brilliant humorist wrote the caption for that photo; that just doesn't make any sense. Does "cousin" mean something different in Spanish? Oh well. Let's move on to the last image in the article.
Hey, a helpful little message about plagiarism! How sweet. I do want to point out that, in the background of this image, the dude with the afro is wearing a Swastika. It's subtle, but it's totally there.
Not that I know that because I had anything to do with this photoshop or anything. I mean, if I
was in any way associated with this image, I'd be able to tell you that the dude also has a photoshopped Hitler mustache that went largely unnoticed due to the placement of the words. Had I worked on this, I would admit that the meticulous detailing that I put into the Hitler 'stache was probably a waste of time in retrospect.
If this was the first time someone had stolen from us, perhaps I wouldn't have reacted this way. But that's just not the case.
People have been ripping us off for a while, which may come as a surprise to you. Maybe you think plagiarism is reserved for Scientific Journals, or Physics Tests, or, really, anything other than a site that deals largely with pop culture, celebrities I want to have sex with, and dick jokes. You'd be wrong. A while back, FM 105.1 ripped off an Ian Cheesman article and was
soundly dealt with. Some site named Myhumors, quite ironically, took humor that wasn't theirs by posting several of our articles without permission or credit to the source. Funnbee.com illegally posted one of our articles, (which is bad enough in its own right), but what made it infinitely worse was that it was my article, and I keep my shit extremely real.
Needless to say, they took it down.
Both the Northern Star and some Croatian website, the name of which I could not pronounce without some kind of profound tongue surgery, stole Lisa Skye's article about Music Trends That Must Be Stopped.
There's more, but, the bottom line, folks, is that people like stealing from us. Maybe they do it because they think it doesn't bother us (it does), or that we won't catch them (we will), or maybe they just think "Hey, it's the internet- Regular laws don't apply here," an argument I will be sure to remember when I'm beating them to death for stealing one of my articles.
A lot of the sites who have plagiarized simply remove the stolen article once we send over a menacing, legal-sounding cease-and-desist letter. The Northern Star went as far as to fire the stolen article's "author."
So what do you do if you're tired of sending cease-and-desist letters, or if they're just
not enough? Blogger and One-of-The-Smartest-Guys-On-The-Internet Ryan Holiday advocates writing a simple email and moving on, which is certainly classy and mature, but still, not enough for me. Plus, there's no code you can put in an email that'll make a picture of a giant dick shadow show up on somebody's website. (Trust me.)
But this is really aggravating. I mean, sure, we mostly write about bullshit, and, sure, there are spelling errors in just about every arcticle we publish, but make no mistake: We work hard here. Articles are workshopped, researched, written and edited. Photo research is done, and in some cases, photoshopping is done, sometimes very extensive and time-consuming photoshopping.
Did you think this picture just happened?!
Getting furious whenever someone lays claim to creative work that is not their own is
not an overreaction. Anyone who has ever put work into anything can agree to that. And if people keep stealing our articles, I'm just gonna keep putting pictures of dicks on their websites, and if they don't link to our images directly, I'm just gonna flood their inboxes with even more dicktures, graphic ones at that, and if they don't link directly to our images and they don't have an email address listed, then I am going to track them down and mail them severed dicks.
I mean, "I" in the ambiguous sense. Like, "I or someone like me," but not me, of course. I had nothing to do with all those pictures.