Literary Thieves Are Slime

24 May


I was looking at a printout of my collective works for the writing site HubPages, and in particular I was looking for the little red C symbols which mean an article of mine has been plagiarized by some other person.

I found seventeen with that symbol.  That was both good and bad news.

The good news is it’s only seventeen out of eleven-hundred, so I feel pretty good about that low percentage.

The bad news is it’s seventeen articles I worked hard to produce which were stolen.

Welcome to the online world of writing!


“Stealing is stealing. I don’t care if it’s on the Internet or you’re breaking into a warehouse somewhere – it’s theft.” Patrick Leahy

So here’s the thing:  how can anyone who steals look at themselves in a mirror?  I simply don’t understand….okay, let me amend that….a person starving who steals eggs from a barn so he can have a meal to eat, that I understand to a certain degree….but

A person who steals an article and then posts it with his/her name attached?  How can that possibly be justified?

But then I say the same thing about people who steal packages from doorsteps or people who swindle the elderly out of thousands of dollars….how do they justify that at night when it’s just them and their thoughts while in bed?


It’s going to happen to you.  It’s unavoidable, friends, so get used to that reality.  There is no way to stop this sort of thing from happening if you are posting your work online.  Sure you can fill out forms and report the thefts, but while you are doing that millions of other articles are being stolen by cyber thieves who have zero conscience.  That’s just the way it is.


I have to give another shout out to Mike Friedman for the wonderful work he does on my book covers. If you need a book cover at a reasonable price, hook up with Mike.  And check out his ebook “The Carriage Driver” on Amazon.


My latest in the Billy the Kid series, “Home is a Dangerous Place,” will be released in June. This is a brand new Billy the Kid installment, never before seen in short story form on HubPages.  I hope you’ll check it out for your summer reading list.town_877


My buddy John Hansen is involved in a new website for writers….here it is….please take the time to check it out and sign up for his newsletter.


Each week I publish an article called “The Writer’s Mailbag.” In it are questions other writers ask me and my sloppy attempt at answering those questions.  One question that keeps popping up with great regularity has to do with how I stay so focused.  Evidently there are a lot of writers and wannabe writers who have a very difficult time sticking with it and actually accomplishing anything because they are so easily distracted.

I’m probably the last person on earth to give advice about this topic.  I’m about as anal and organized a human being as you are likely to meet, and I’m married to one of the most distracted human beings on the planet. This question directly relates to Bev and she really does struggle with it.

I wish I could help her and I wish I could help all of you who have similar problems.  There are a number of great articles online written by behavioral experts and I suggest you read some of those articles.  I recognize it as a real problem for many of you. I just don’t have a good answer for you.


Busy times around here with the quail and gardening and writing and on and on and on….and that’s all good because it’s life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Have a great week of life and thanks so much for taking the time to read my ramblings.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”



31 Responses to “Literary Thieves Are Slime”

  1. Greg Boudonck May 24, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

    Yea Bill. There are a lot of thieves out there, but they will get there due. Steal from others and the same will happen to them 10 fold. Great post sir,

    • Billybuc May 24, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

      I believe that to be true, Greg, and I won’t shed a tear when it does. Thanks my friend.

  2. Eric Dierker May 24, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    A really nice article.

    • Billybuc May 24, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

      Eric, good to see you…thanks as always and Happy Tuesday to you.

  3. Audrey Howitt May 24, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    So sorry your work was stolen–it is a hateful thing really–my good news? I am now on summer schedule, so I you should be seeing a bit more of me! So glad to be done with things

    • Billybuc May 24, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

      Happy Summer Audrey! Great news. Enjoy your time off and I look forward to seeing more of you.

  4. marlenebertrand May 24, 2016 at 4:21 pm #

    I enjoyed reading today’s encouraging message. Like you, many of my hubs have been stolen. At one time I use to try to report and thwart the thieves, but oftentimes they hide their identity, so it is really a waste of time. I don’t worry about it anymore. What really gets me is when they steal my personal experiences without so much as changing a single word, claiming the experience as their experience. It gets really ironic when I see one of my forum comments stolen.

    I’m working on offline stuff these days. By the way, the deal fell through for my house sale, so I’m back in the ring trying to get it sold – spending a good amount of time marketing it. My game plan is to sell the house, use some of the proceeds to buy an RV and the rest to continue improving the property. And, for the next full year my husband and I plan to travel and write, living a full-time RV lifestyle. We’ve already identified some exciting places to visit and capture in photographs and words. At first it was scary to think about not having the conveniences of a regular home, but now I embrace the idea. I plan to do a lot of reading, so I’m glad you keep writing. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on your upcoming novel. I absolutely love your work.

    • Billybuc May 24, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

      Wow, Marlene, I didn’t see that coming. I had no idea you were going to do the RV thing. Good for you and I hope you see and experience some incredible things.

      And thank you so much for your kind words. I’ll try to make sure my writing never disappoints you.

      • marlenebertrand May 24, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

        Yes, Bill, you are kind of the first to know. My mom and the neighbor across the street know about our plans which came about rather quickly. You see, my husband and I are determined to build our house with all cash (no loan). Since we are a little short on cash and since it would take about a year to save the rest of what we need we thought a better way to live out that time of waiting and saving is to have some fun. The RV idea hit us as an excellent idea. We are already living in tight quarters as it is. Living in an RV would take minor adjustments. I can still write while on the road. Nothing changes except for the scenery. Then when we have enough cash saved up, a new episode in our life opens up. I don’t see how we can lose. I’m so excited. The sale of our current home is the only thing holding up the show right now.

      • Billybuc May 24, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

        Well I’ll be rooting you on from afar, Marlene, and looking forward to reports from the road. Best wishes to you!

  5. Janine Huldie May 24, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    Finally checking in as I was chaperoning Lily’s spring kindergarten trip to the local planting fields. Just always enjoy reading your advice and more here, so happily thank you for sharing with us all today more of your words of wisdom. Happy Tuesday now, Bill!! 😉

    • Billybuc May 24, 2016 at 5:44 pm #

      Janine, I’m glad it’s you chaperoning and not me. LOL I remember those times fondly and have no desire to repeat them. Thanks for being here, my friend.

  6. marcoujor May 24, 2016 at 7:28 pm #

    Your ethics are refreshing…I am also baffled at the amount of theft in writing and every other facet of life. Like you, I use the ‘mirror criteria’ for my behavior.

    Have a great day. Love ya, Maria

    • Billybuc May 24, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

      Thank you Maria! I just wonder how anyone can justify theft or any kind…I must live in another reality all together.


  7. 1authorcygnetbrown May 24, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

    It’s too bad HP can’t figure out that you were the original and not the other site. I had an article stolen a while back. Fortunately it happened when a bunch of others by other people were stolen and HP realized what happened and reinstated us. I hope that happens for you too.

    In one sense a part of me was happy that someone thought what I had written was worth stealing, but when a person writes something worthwhile, they are the ones who should get the credit.

    • Billybuc May 24, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

      All true Donna. Quite frankly I think this thing will get worse before it gets better. In the meantime, I have a novel to finish, so I don’t have time to worry about it. 🙂 Thanks my friend.

      • 1authorcygnetbrown May 24, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

        It all works out in the end, doesn’t it?

  8. Cynthia May 25, 2016 at 12:38 am #

    So…yeah…I have *so* many of my hubs with the little “c” symbol…after filing a few DMCA complaints a few years ago, I was like…eh…why bother? They’re gonna do it anyways…and I know that Google generally can tell the original article anyways and rank that higher.
    I often wonder how a lot of different kinds of people can live with themselves and the crimes they commit…but then that’s where I stop: those are not my battles; they are theirs. I just have to re-commit to shining my own light.
    Sending hugs Big Bro. #inspire

    • Billybuc May 25, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

      Beautifully stated Lil Sis, and exactly how I feel. I’ve got a limited number of days on this planet and I can either use them in a positive manner or a negative….my choice.

      Thanks my friend.

  9. Deborah Neyens May 25, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    I’ve had the dreaded little red C on a few of my Hubpages articles, as well. Filing DMCA complaints doesn’t seem to do a bit of good. But, like you, I have better things to worry about. And, can I just say, eleven hundred articles – WOW!

    • Billybuc May 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

      Thank you Deb! I’m just the little overachiever who doesn’t know his limitations yet….and I’m getting older and running out of time, so I’d best be productive.

  10. Eyes Straight Ahead (Shell Vera) May 25, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

    Nice insight, Bill. I bookmakers the website to check it out. Looks like a nice place to read. I am also going to add your book to my summer reading list. I still remember reading your first ever Hubpage post and thinking, “This man will go far with writing.” You have been diligent. I am proud of you! Thanks for being a continuing source of encouragement and inspiration.

  11. Billybuc May 25, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    🙂 Thank you again!

  12. EmeseRéka May 25, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

    Hi, Bill, Nice to find you here.
    Well, my thoughts about plagiarism: you really can’t help it, those with no conscience will do it; although I think I’ll be flattered if it ever happened to me, it would mean someone thought my work was worth stealing. However, literary thieves must be really dumb, if they don’t realize that no one in their right mind would believe they wrote what they stole. They can’t copy your style. So your article or your words will not fit in with other things they write or steal from others.
    About staying focused: I am very much like your Bev, one of the least focused and organized people on the planet. Still, I get things done. Eventually. Deadlines help. If I have them, I can finish things by the very last second. Like when I finished my daughter’s dance costume a few minutes before she had to wear it on stage, or sent in an article literally less than five minutes before the deadline. What works for me is not trying to stay focused, that seems to be impossible, but always returning to the project. I also need to have a lot of projects going in the same time. I’m not sure how that relates to it all, but it helps to jump around between them and eventually get most of them, hopefully all, done.
    Finally, thank you for sharing John’s new site, I will check it out. I stopped writing for HubPages for a while until I figure out where they are going.

    • Billybuc May 25, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

      Emese, it’s so nice to hear from you. Thanks for your thoughts on this. Funny about being flattered if someone stole your work. Several people I know think the same way and honestly, so have I at times. It is kind of a slap in the face commpliment.

      Anyway, I appreciate you being here.

  13. Dee May 27, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

    I have several posts on HP copied but I’m not going to waste energy thinking about the thieves who find them interesting. I am catching up on all the wonderful posts I’ve missed over the school year. Yours are always inspiring. Best wishes on your new series coming out this year.

    • Billybuc May 27, 2016 at 8:03 pm #

      Dee, welcome back and thanks for thinking of me. Happy Summer Vacation to you!

  14. Shauna L Bowling June 16, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    I’ve had a few of my HP articles stolen, as well. I tried commenting directly on the bogus posts as the original author and demanded my work be taken down. It worked on one site, but I have several others that refuse to listen (or I have to sign up to leave a comment). So, this weekend I have the arduous task of filing several DMCA complaints.

    It galls me to no end that people steal like this. Do they really think they won’t be caught or that the original authors don’t care enough to fight them?

    • Billybuc June 17, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

      Sha, I don’t think they care if they are caught, because the penalties are non-existent or not worth the worry, especially in some foreign countries…that’s just the sad truth of online writing.

      Good luck with those DMCA complaints.

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