word thieves. #writing

writing in darkness

I’ve always known that posting fiction online was a risk. A big one. I put my heart and soul (and the rest of me) into every word I write… and I post it for the world to see… and steal.

Is it a mistake? It makes me question posting my fiction here. And that sucks.

I’d hate to stop sharing with you. Your feedback… your support — it’s priceless. I’ve noticed something… over the weekend, after I’ve posted fiction friday and read your comments, I’m inspired. I write better. That’s definitely directly related to your feedback, your support, your reactions.

But… when I see my words somewhere else… not a reblog, not a link, not even a mention of me or my blog… just stolen words — when I see that, it makes me sick. And really sad. Like, tears-on-my-face sad. And then, really pissed off. I feel violated. Maybe it’s an overreaction. But it hurts me… even if just a little piece was stolen. Especially something I was particularly proud of… something that stood out.

I realize I don’t have copyright on the English language. But when a specific concept in my exact words (or damn close) is just taken? That feels wrong to me…

If the thief thinks they’re just ‘borrowing‘ my words (or a very specific idea/detail), does that justify it? ‘Borrowing‘ means it will be returned… and maybe even implies permission. I was not asked… and I’m not getting my words back. Isn’t that exactly what makes ‘borrowing‘ stealing?  When I ‘borrow‘ a cookie from my husband’s stash, I’m not giving it back (nor did I ask first). Which is why I tell him I stole a cookie.

Like I said, maybe I’m overreacting. I do that. Even over small things… like a few specific words or lines. And it is possible that someone had the same exact idea I had… but it’s bloody unlikely… and the timing speaks volumes.

It says right on my site… in the sidebar and the footer…

©2015-2017 whatsandrathinks.com
All written content is the property of whatsandrathinks.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of Sandra’s work without express and written consent from Sandra is forbidden and is kind of a dick move anyway.

And it is a dick move. Write your own fucking material.

Should I be flattered? Because I’m so fucking amazing that people steal my stuff? ‘Cause I’m not.

I’ve transitioned from upset to angry. Well, maybe not ‘transitioned‘… I’m feeling both. Strongly. Can you tell? Is it obvious?

Should I password-protect EVERY fiction post? And hope I don’t share the password with anyone inclined to steal my words?

But… if I do this, I will lose readers. Some honest readers may not want to contact me for the password. (I don’t know why… I don’t bite. Unless provoked or asked nicely.) Some just won’t want to bother with the password inconvenience at all. I also know that password protected posts cannot be commented on in the Reader or in the notification drop-down… you’d have to click over to my blog… so I will lose feedback, too.

So that all sucks hairy monkey balls.

(begin whine) It’s not fair! (/end whine)

How can thieves be proud of “their” work… you know, since it isn’t “their” work?

Do I need to put this last bit in giant fucking bold print…?

©2017 what sandra thinks

Well, now, that makes me look like a bitch. 

About what sandra thinks

Sandra is a writer, sometimes blogger, poet, artist, emotional disaster. She thinks far too much and sleeps far too little. Sandra lives in the Northeastern U.S. but dreams of an oceanfront home in Italy, but she would settle for a non-oceanfront home in Italy. She loves books, brutal honesty, coffee, and the color black. She hates insincerity, beer, whipped cream, and facebook. And she is uncomfortable talking about herself in the third person.
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50 Responses to word thieves. #writing

  1. drainbrainx says:

    It’s a fucking total dick move, and anybody who does that shit is a fucking dick. No damn need to feel bad about punching their fucking face AND balls. Hope it never happens again to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They say to be copied it is a complement. It still makes you angry though. It happens in cooking. I have seen recipes taken by other bloggers…maybe I shouldn’t publish my recipes… But so many others get so much joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the thing — You want to share with all the amazing people… but there are always a few who do the wrong thing. I’ve seen it with recipes, too. Two blogs have the same exact recipe. I can often figure out who was first but sometimes… ugh! It’s so frustrating! I guess it’s a compliment but others taking credit for my work really upsets me. I don’t have much… wish people wouldn’t take what I do have…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So sorry to hear this Sandra. I’ve recently discovered 4 separate sites that cut and pasted 2 different blog posts. Even snagged the sketches I created. The posts were immediately pulled after I sent a comment (and the blogs shut down), but I suspect that there are weird people out there that troll the blogosphere hoping to steal other peoples content and try to get away with it for as long as they can. Have no idea what the end-goal would be. But likely, the kind of people that think its OK to steal someone elses work and claim it as their own lack the cortical matter most evolved people take for granted.

    Aside from vigilance or silence, I don’t have a failsafe solution either. but I’m with you.
    It sucks

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does suck! I’d hate to stop posting fiction or anything else because of this. Makes me wonder, too… what’s the thief’s goal? To get me to stop posting? I must be really awesome if they see me as such a threat! I can’t believe someone took your whole posts AND sketches. How obnoxious! I thought of commenting on the offending blog… but it wasn’t a whole post and I didn’t want to get into a huge dispute over it. I just wish people could have a little respect!


  4. magarisa says:

    To me, you are NOT overreacting. That IS a dick move, and I believe those inclined to steal your work and pass it off as their own could not care less whether the material is copyrighted or not. I wish I had some good advice for you …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you… and I know there’s really no solution other than never posting any original work again. And even removing what’s already been posted. But I don’t want to do that and I shouldn’t have to. What’s the goal? To scare me into disappearing?
      Any feedback or praise they get is really for me so how does that make them feel good?
      People suck. Some of them, anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Yep. Dick move, indeed. I’ve wondered if putting my photos out The is good idea. Have no idea if any ever show up elsewhere. I hope not…but I’m not naive. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a crappy thing to do! I’d spit at them if I knew how to. 😠. No you are not being a b***h in any way. You have every right to be angry. Stupid spines they are😬

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know how anyone can do something like this! I would feel so guilty even taking a post idea from another blog without asking if the blogger minded! In fact, I have done exactly that before… “Hey, I like your ‘Throwback Thursday’ idea mind if I use it?” And if the answer was no, I wouldn’t have. (I haven’t actually used that idea because I forget every Thursday, but that’s beside the point!) 🙂


  7. I meant Swines not spines

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marquessa says:

    Total dick move. Did you tell them that you’ll sue them if they don’t take it? I would just to see the reaction. The problem is once your work is out in the world, its out. I’m no longer posting “new” stories, the shorter stuff I already posted will eventually be compiled into something and the rest will likely stay as “samples”. Instead of password protecting, maybe think about building an email list that you can control. I mean, blog like you usually do but when you post poetry/fiction, post a snippet and if readers want the rest, they have to sign up. Mailchimp is not hard…😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t say anything. If it was more than the little bit I discovered, I would have. But I can just imagine the defense… the justification… and I just didn’t want to hear it.

      The mailing list is a good idea. I just hate losing out on the feedback. I know people could write back to me with it, but I think most people probably wouldn’t. It’s an extra step, kind of.

      I’ve been having second thoughts lately about posting new or whole stories here. If I ever want to publish anything, it’d be nice if I hadn’t already given it away here, you know? But I also don’t want to disappoint readers who come here for fiction. On the other hand, if I were to publish anything from here, I’d expand and edit so they might be very different stories… ahh… I don’t know!


  9. Wow, that would probably really make me angry if it ever happened to me. And yes, I’m just a little pissed that no one has ever stolen my words that I know of — but I’d be angry if they did, even while secretly flattered just a little…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. To be honest, I was not thrilled that you took my chest pounding thing.That was my unique way of showing my character’s emotions. It feels pretty crappy when I come up with the perfect way to describe something and then someone just uses it, too. I can’t copyright random words, but that was pretty specific. Like I said, I pour every part of myself into my writing, so for it to appear in someone else’s work is kind of painful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mandibelle16 says:

      Ah, I wondered. Frankly, you’ve blogged with me enough to talk to me, send me a note or something. There is chest pounding in a lot of romance books and I wasn’t trying to copy you, I just thought how that described what my character felt too. That was my train of thought. I wrote my story and I didn’t think about yours honestly until after I had written the flash fiction piece. I’m pretty disappointed you wrote this nasty post that was mostly in really mean when you just should’ve talked to me.

      You know me on here, on WordPress, for years, and you owed me the dignity of writing me or asking me not to use that concept. I’m really sad you felt the way you did. I apologize I did not see that as stealing your ideas and I’m not after you to copy all your work whatever it might be. You don’t have to password protect I’ll ensure I don’t even use your ideas or think of them. Frankly, 98 percent of the time I don’t. I just think you write good Friday stories and poetry. I didn’t specifically copy your words at all, on purpose. I’ll change my characters reaction, however, the story idea as a whole, I had yesterday morning, long before I read your latest Friday installation.



      • There were two other incidents. This isn’t all about what you wrote. I wasn’t even thinking of that until you brought it up again. And I don’t think this was a nasty post. I think anyone would be upset if their material was taken. And I was… so I posted about it.

        I’m sure plenty of stories have a similar chest pounding thing. (I’m not sure I’ve come across any, but that’s irrelevant.) I get that I have no ownership of that idea. But you told me you ‘borrowed’ it because you liked it so much… so it’s clear that you got it from me. That kind of bothered me. Especially after the other incidents. I am not a confrontational person… it makes me way too anxious. I’ve never addressed anything like this with anyone. Again, I have no ownership of that particular idea so there was no reason to say anything even if it bothered me…

        Liked by 1 person

        • mandibelle16 says:

          I did like it but it’s changed now since it bothered you a lot. No worries. I hope you find a way to work out your other incidents. I consider you a friend on here so I wouldn’t want to offend you or make you anxious. Like I said, Marquessa seems to deal with people stealing ideas and since you were talking to her, maybe that will help.



  11. I am Aranab says:

    it is a very hairy monkey topic actually. sometimes I do admit i like a sentence somewhere and I would take it. But mostly these are words written by famous guys. And I rarely give credit. Because I am so bad at articulating thoughts that though big writers and I think the same thing but not enough creative juice in my head. But most of these guys always say use it as you like. And guys like James Altucher, Seth Godin said if your work is being stolen means you are doing something right! So maybe you can’t stop people from stealing your work perhaps take it as a compliment. Regardless I would be pissed off if someone even says the same line on me! So I understand where you are coming from.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think if I was some famous (or not famous) published author and someone took something from my work, I’d be less bothered… because it would be clear that someone took it from me and not the other way around. But when I see something of mine somewhere else around here… on someone’s blog… well, people could see that first and think I stole it from them. And that really bothers me. But other than not posting anything, there’s really no solution…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: moody monday. #2 #writing | what sandra thinks

  13. I’m so sorry about this. It does hurt and make one angry. So angry. There is no justification. It’s just wrong. On every level.

    Liked by 1 person

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