Stop, thief!

15 Jun

I learned not to plagiarize at a young age, with the admonition, “I’ll be able to tell.” This was in middle school before everyone understood how the internet worked, and it was a lot easier to get away with stealing huge chunks of other people’s work. I never did it—first, because it offended my writerly sensibilities, and second, because I really did believe my teacher would be able to tell. The internet has made things tougher for plagiarizers, but it’s also given them much more material to choose from. So while I no longer worry about my academic papers being copied—uh, you can have them, if you really want—I now concern myself with Twitter theft.

Why steal tweets? I guess the simple answer is you’re not funny enough on your own. I have seen several of my 140-character musings copied word-for-word or tweaked slightly and posted by someone else. I’ll admit my first reaction was a swelling of pride (what’s that expression about imitation?), because being plagiarized made me feel as though I’d arrived. That initial burst of excitement was followed closely by rage: a fraud was getting credit for my work. All of this was rendered more infuriating by some of the responses I got, which could be paraphrased as, “Who cares?”

I mean, I do. But this speaks to a larger issue, the misconception that by putting something online you’re basically giving anyone license to nab it. One of my favorite bloggers, FourFour’s Rich Juzwiak, has encountered this on more than one occasion, with his expertly edited supercuts used (without credit) on major TV shows. I doubt I put as much effort into single tweets as Rich does into his videos, but they’re still my work. It’s true that 140 characters (or fewer!) isn’t much, not when compared to the incalculable number of characters in a full-length novel. (It’s not actually incalculable, but who wants to do that math?) Still, you can do a lot in a tweet, and the best tweeters do: you make a point, or you tell a joke, and if you’re lucky, it makes an impression.

In other words, size isn’t everything, but I’d guess that’s how many Twitter thieves justify their plagiarism. Is it really stealing if you’re only grabbing two sentences? This is also a culture in which people quote their favorite movies incessantly (oh, God, so incessantly), which also might encourage the belief that jokes, once shared, are in the public domain.

I can’t believe I even have to say this, but it’s something a significant portion of the internet still hasn’t taken to heart: It’s wrong to pass off someone else’s work as your own. What is common sense for some means nothing to others, as evidenced by the number of people asking me what the big deal was when I lamented my plagiarized tweets. And yes, to an outside observer, I can see how it might seem a little silly. (“Hey, I made that dick joke first!”) But my tweets, however brief or vulgar, are my writing. I value them as much as I do my blog posts, my articles, and my essays—and I expect others to show the same respect.

Nothing irks me more than the “it’s just Twitter” response, especially when it comes to the defense of a plagiarizer. Twitter is a fast-paced, constantly-updating forum, yes, but that’s all the more reason it’s important that we’re given proper credit for our work. The things we post online may last, but they’re just as likely to disappear quickly. The digital world is transitive, and that makes it easy for a thief to sneak in and steal something old just to regift it as something new. Plagiarism matters even more because tweets are, in the long-run, insubstantial. It’s tough to establish staying power or to determine authorship, which is partly why I defend my tweets with such intensity.

But what “it’s just Twitter” also disregards is how much the site means to so many aspiring writers, myself included. No, we can’t all get a TV series or a book deal out of it, but Twitter has a massive impact on our styles, our senses of humor, and yes, sometimes our careers. I never even knew I wanted to write comedy until I started getting a positive response to my Twitter, which has opened up new avenues to me professionally. It may “just” be Twitter to you, but to many of us, it’s a unique outlet for our voices. And when another person takes credit for my voice? You’re damn right I take that seriously. I think I’d be a fool not to.

Crossposted to Huffington Post Media here.

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32 Responses to “Stop, thief!”

  1. shauna June 15, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Beautifully put, Louis. And since I’ve now gotten three writing gigs based solely on what those people saw on my Twitter feed, I would also argue that stealing my work could also be taking money out of my pocket. If someone sees the plagiarist’s tweet before mine, now *I* look like the thief. Who wants to hire a thief?

  2. Jerry Mahoney June 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    And don’t forget Twitter has a built-in system of attribution – the RT. If you like what someone writes, you should be giving them credit for it. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s easier than stealing their work.

  3. Dan Clyne June 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    If you do some research and are willing to pay $50, John Turturro will go to someone’s residence as his character in “Secret Window” and menace them for stealing his story. Sometimes he’ll require lunch.

  4. jbenick June 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I agree with you completely. Perhaps if you made an official copyright statement in your bio or wasted a character by using ‘©’ following a tweet, it would help deter people from stealing your stuff. Not that you should have to, but since you’re dealing with the lowest common denominator it might be a good idea.

  5. David Waghalter June 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    I would like to steal the ability to get writing gigs based on a Twitter feed.

  6. Seriously? June 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    First of all, how truly original do you think you’re being in 140 ch anyway. Second, at the end of the day, it is just twitter. If you’re so offended by all these tweet thieves, why don’t you show your writing more respect and put them somewhere that actually means anything. Your tweets are good, so I understand your anger. What I don’t understand is why you care in the first place. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery

    • Louis Peitzman June 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

      Did you read any of the post?

      • jbenick June 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

        Yeah. You should show your writing more respect, but definitely don’t expect anyone else to. That’s asking way too much, don’t you know?

    • Ellie McElvain June 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

      First, exactly what Louis said, did you read this whole post?

      Second, if you didn’t, the one thing I don’t think he fully touched on was the incredible ability of one’s twitter account to expand professional opportunities. By updating and maintaining a “quality” twitter account you can gain a significant number of followers, and potentially catch the eye of important people who do important stuff who could, potentially, hire you to do what many of us desire – write. It’s not a waste to put writing on twitter, it’s smart in this modern era of internet.

      So yeah, the stealing thing unfortunately comes along with this increased accessibility and opportunity, but it still sucks and really shouldn’t happen. Imitation is worst form of flattery because it’s a fucking slap in the face.

  7. Kerry June 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    The funny people I follow are clever and talented. I look forward to reading their tweets every day, and I appreciate the effort they put forth. Stealing someone else’s work, whatever the form is pathetic.

  8. David Waghalter June 15, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Imitation is the sincerest form of lacking originality.

  9. Mark Leggett June 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Here’s the thing for me, it doesn’t matter if you’re aiming to profit from your tweets or not, they are your work. It’s like stealing apples from your neighbor’s tree and then saying it’s fine to do so because they were never going to sell them at the market. “Hey chill out bro, they’re only apples!” you’ll retort, your chubby face full of the apples your neighbor lovingly tended to, stolen apple juice running down your numerous chins.

    The internet is full of people who spend time doing all this stuff for free, writing silly jokes that entertain you and cheer you up, taking photographs of places and things you’d never see otherwise, making amazing music, writing insightful blog posts that make you think, and then there are smelly jerk-offs who turn around and repay these creative and generous people by stealing it and claiming credit for it because (stop me if I’m wrong here) they’re sad lonely little frauds with either tiny genitals or large genitals, depending on whichever one is the least desirable based on their gender.

    If you’re using the old “chill out, it’s only Twitter” defense, why are you on Twitter so desperate for the attention you get from passing off other peoples ideas as your own?
    Have people like “Seriously”, or @hermaeness (same person?) ever created anything of worth and then had them taken for another person’s gain? Doubtful.

    It makes me feel better to know that the majority of people aren’t like this, that there are decent people who genuinely like what you do and want to share it with others the right way.
    The scumbags who plagiarize for some kind of desperate glory usually end up getting stabbed by gypsies and thrown into a dumpster (citation needed), or they live out a sad fraudulent little life full of mediocrity and sadness. Either way is fine by me.

  10. rel_redhead June 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    To be fair, I don’t use Twitter, mostly because I’m bad at the internet and don’t think I’m very funny. But these folks who are out stealing your tweets sound a lot like the internet analogues of the series of interchangeable frat boy types in my department in undergrad. Their idea of contributing to class discussion was to repeat things that someone else in the class said (generally, that someone was a girl, although perhaps that’s just my overly sensitive female brain imagining sexism, because we women apparently do that a lot). It was infuriating enough that they even tried to get away with it in the first place-dude, it’s not that hard to do some reading assignments and come up with enough of your own thoughts about them to scoop up your participation points for the week-but it was extra special infuriating when the professor or grad student running the section responded as if they had indeed made some kind of unique contribution to class discussion, when what they were really doing was saying exactly what you just said two comments ago. That shit is just wrong, and irritating enough in a context where all you’re trying to do is do reasonably well in a class. I can’t imagine how much it must suck in a medium you’re using, among other things, to help promote your writing in hopes of getting more paying work.

  11. Nick Stadler June 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    This is a beautifully written post, Louis. I fully agree with everything you say. I’m probably more protective of other people’s writing than my own because I don’t really consider myself a “writer,” per se. (Although my attitude regarding that has been changing since I’ve actually started performing my jokes in clubs).

    When it comes to jokes on Twitter, though, I don’t think we can underestimate the likelihood of coincidence. With the sheer number of people tweeting every day, people are bound to come up with the exact same thought from time to time. I’ve seen the likes of Patton Oswalt and Wendy Liebman tweet nearly word-for-word identical jokes to ones I’d tweeted well before them. Did they *steal* my jokes? No, of course not. They happened to think of the same thing I did. I was flattered that these two great comedic minds who’ve I’d admired for years, for a split moment, operated the way mine did. (Or maybe they were just obvious jokes, and we should all be aiming a little higher next time?)

    I also don’t like the public drama that occurs over these things. There’s no need to form a lynch mob. Can we not be civil? Must we throw common decency out the window whenever we feel we’ve been wronged?

    You so eloquently wrote about what you saw as an overreaction by many (GLAAD specifically) over Tracy Morgan’s “jokes” on stage in Nashville. While I agree that GLAAD has a tendency to be overly dramatic, I personally believe Morgan’s words were far more serious and far more dangerous than much of the perceived joke thievery that’s taken place, and was deserving of an overreaction.

    I would never suggest that plagiarism is acceptable. But perhaps the next time you or anyone else witnesses a perceived infraction, pause for a moment, take a deep breath and attempt to handle it like an adult.

    The name-calling and abusive language I witnessed this week was disgusting. My disappointment in the accused (and admitted) joke thief was nearly outdone by the words of his accusers. Rational adults shouldn’t be behaving this way.

    • Louis Peitzman June 15, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

      Of course coincidences are possible, but there’s a difference between accidentally tweeting someone else’s joke (or a similar idea) and tweeting SEVERAL jokes written by other people. I have only once called someone out for stealing my tweet, and that was after seeing FIVE other examples of plagiarism by this person. I have since seen at least five more examples. Coincidence only goes so far.

      However, I agree that abusive language never solves anything, which is why I tried to keep my blog post civil and didn’t address anyone by name. To me, handling the situation like an adult means expressing my thoughts in writing, and I stand by everything I said.

      • Nick Stadler June 15, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

        As I’ve said, I felt this was a beautifully written post. You’ll have no argument with me over that. And much of the ugliness I witnessed over the past few days was over entirely different accusers and a different accused. Some of the things I’d read, I felt, were unacceptable.

        For the person you’re talking about, and I won’t name names either, I personally felt that the similarities between your tweet and theirs was coincidental. I thought the premise was the same, but the joke was different. We can agree to disagree on that.

        Have there been other tweets by this person that have blurred and/or crossed that line? I think I may have seen one or two that were legitimate accusations. The others, again, I thought were a stretch.

        I also believe that, when we call someone out publicly, regardless of how respectful we may try to be, if you have a loyal following of readers, it can sound like a call-to-arms for some of them.

        I’m sure you could pour through my Favstar page and instantly find a dozen tweets that were similar to something someone else had said before. Comedy is all about being relatable, and making the intangible tangible. If I’ve ever tweeted a reworded joke of someone else’s, I can assure you it wasn’t on purpose.

        I never want to be put through that hell. I would much rather watch everyone and their mother steal my tweets than be accused of stealing tweets because what I witnessed was appalling.

      • Nick Stadler June 15, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

        Oh, and FYI, I ranted about this earlier on Tumblr. You pretty much stole my headline you THIEF! (ha ha ha)

        http://nickadoola.tumblr.com/post/6561333957/stop-thief-no-really-stop

  12. Peter-john Byrnes June 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    I completely agree that this does matter, and that it isn’t right, and that just because our writing doesn’t come with a price tag, it doesn’t make the writing public domain.

    Having said that, I can’t work up the appropriate righteous fury over this issue. I’ve tried lighting my fiery sword; it’s remained unlit. If there’s very clear plagiarism, the unfollow and block buttons are easy to find. Report to one of the several self-appointed referee accounts if you must. (Sometimes I have. Sometimes I haven’t bothered.) Then get on with it. Go write another joke. Let it go. It’s not that it’s okay. It’s that the world has fleas and injustice. So what else is new?

    And if you’re going to make a plagiarism charge, you’d better be goddamned sure. Character for character, of course. But a celebrity dies, and you and someone else both make a easy joke on a common premise? Not plagiarism. If you think someone stole your “Kirstie Alley is fat” joke, take a deep breath. Consider how original your joke was, and what are the chances that your insight was unique. And go write a better joke.

    • Louis Peitzman June 15, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

      Again, I am referring to clear and repeated examples of plagiarism. And you’re right, there are other injustices, but that doesn’t stop me from getting pissed off about this one.

  13. Laurence Barber June 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    Completely agree with everything you said. I just wanted to throw in the fact that it just serves to further damage the perception of Twitter as a writing medium. ‘Seriously?’s perspective is likely that of all too many people, and the fact that this plagiarism occurs only adds ammunition when they try and convince us that “it is just Twitter” or that we’re wasting our time etc.

    The flow-on effect of this is that there would be incredibly clever, funny, talented people out there who don’t give Twitter a chance because the plagiarism makes it seem cheap or even valueless. I love stumbling upon funny and creative new twitter accounts and I can only imagine what I miss out on because people treat Twitter like it is somehow of less value than any other blogging service with an equal capacity to allow stupid people to say stupid things.

    I tell people that Twitter is something I merely do as a hobby but ultimately I would like it to create some of the opportunities both Louis and others here have described. Whether or not I’ll ever make it that far remains to be seen, but since I’ve yet to have anything of mine stolen I can’t speak much to that aspect of it. I’d rather not have “being plagiarised” as the sign that I’ve ‘made it’ though; it makes it see much more hollow than it should.

  14. Kelly June 15, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    I once had a guy (He had 64,000 followers and followed 67,000 people) who filled his entire feed with my tweets then he taunted me by @’ing that I’d stolen all of his tweets. It was so idiotic that the time stamps didn’t even matter.

    I totally agree with your points here LOUIS!

  15. Seriously? June 15, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    I’ve never stole a tweet. I use it to communicate with people when i’m deployed, not to tell jokes. I do appreciate the people that do use it for jokes. You people all need to get over yourselves though. If you’re funny, people will know. I’ve noticed the people I follow for their humor aren’t here whining. If you really think the actions of a tweet thief are going to screw up your life or career. It may be time to move on. Have you considered getting laid?

    • Louis Peitzman June 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

      There are many very funny people represented here, and I’m pretty sure all of them have had sex. But thanks!

  16. Steven Amiri June 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Here’s my original two cents, Louis:

    I learned not to plagiarize at a young age, with the admonition, “I’ll be able to tell.” This was in middle school before everyone understood how the internet worked, and it was a lot easier to get away with stealing huge chunks of other people’s work. I never did it—first, because it offended my writerly sensibilities, and second, because I really did believe my teacher would be able to tell. The internet has made things tougher for plagiarizers, but it’s also given them much more material to choose from. So while I no longer worry about my academic papers being copied—uh, you can have them, if you really want—I now concern myself with Twitter theft.

    Why steal tweets? I guess the simple answer is you’re not funny enough on your own. I have seen several of my 140-character musings copied word-for-word or tweaked slightly and posted by someone else. I’ll admit my first reaction was a swelling of pride (what’s that expression about imitation?), because being plagiarized made me feel as though I’d arrived. That initial burst of excitement was followed closely by rage: a fraud was getting credit for my work. All of this was rendered more infuriating by some of the responses I got, which could be paraphrased as, “Who cares?”

    I mean, I do. But this speaks to a larger issue, the misconception that by putting something online you’re basically giving anyone license to nab it. One of my favorite bloggers, FourFour’s Rich Juzwiak, has encountered this on more than one occasion, with his expertly edited supercuts used (without credit) on major TV shows. I doubt I put as much effort into single tweets as Rich does into his videos, but they’re still my work. It’s true that 140 characters (or fewer!) isn’t much, not when compared to the incalculable number of characters in a full-length novel. (It’s not actually incalculable, but who wants to do that math?) Still, you can do a lot in a tweet, and the best tweeters do: you make a point, or you tell a joke, and if you’re lucky, it makes an impression.

    In other words, size isn’t everything, but I’d guess that’s how many Twitter thieves justify their plagiarism. Is it really stealing if you’re only grabbing two sentences? This is also a culture in which people quote their favorite movies incessantly (oh, God, so incessantly), which also might encourage the belief that jokes, once shared, are in the public domain.

    I can’t believe I even have to say this, but it’s something a significant portion of the internet still hasn’t taken to heart: It’s wrong to pass off someone else’s work as your own. What is common sense for some means nothing to others, as evidenced by the number of people asking me what the big deal was when I lamented my plagiarized tweets. And yes, to an outside observer, I can see how it might seem a little silly. (“Hey, I made that dick joke first!”) But my tweets, however brief or vulgar, are my writing. I value them as much as I do my blog posts, my articles, and my essays—and I expect others to show the same respect.

    Nothing irks me more than the “it’s just Twitter” response, especially when it comes to the defense of a plagiarizer. Twitter is a fast-paced, constantly-updating forum, yes, but that’s all the more reason it’s important that we’re given proper credit for our work. The things we post online may last, but they’re just as likely to disappear quickly. The digital world is transitive, and that makes it easy for a thief to sneak in and steal something old just to regift it as something new. Plagiarism matters even more because tweets are, in the long-run, insubstantial. It’s tough to establish staying power or to determine authorship, which is partly why I defend my tweets with such intensity.

    But what “it’s just Twitter” also disregards is how much the site means to so many aspiring writers, myself included. No, we can’t all get a TV series or a book deal out of it, but Twitter has a massive impact on our styles, our senses of humor, and yes, sometimes our careers. I never even knew I wanted to write comedy until I started getting a positive response to my Twitter, which has opened up new avenues to me professionally. It may “just” be Twitter to you, but to many of us, it’s a unique outlet for our voices. And when another person takes credit for my voice? You’re damn right I take that seriously. I think I’d be a fool not to.

    Love ya Louis. Great article.

  17. Bill Zam June 17, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    As a writer who is using Twitter to gain exposure, I was shocked and disgusted that people disagreed (sometimes angrily) with this post and even unfollowed you for it. It’s the tweet that made me follow you. Looking forward to more of YOUR thoughts and giving you credit for them.

    Sincerely,

    -Louis Peitzman [chill out, dude, it’s only your name!]

    I mean,

    -Bill Zam

  18. Defender June 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    The amount of hurt you’ve caused over your super sensitivity and inability to see things as coincidental based on the very nature of repeated joke forms on twitter is astounding. And you won’t shut up about it because you love the attention it gives you.

    And Mark Leggett, God you’re such an asshole. You have to bring up names and everything? You are seriously a sorry fuck.

    Nickadoola, you are one of the few decent people left on twitter.

    • Louis Peitzman June 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      The amount of hurt I’ve caused is astounding? Honestly, I find that hard to believe. I mentioned someone by name once and never brought up that person again. I wrote a blog post regarding my general thoughts on plagiarism because it is an issue a lot of people seem to not understand. Of course I write for attention, in the sense that this is the internet: all of us are trying to make ourselves heard. But I purposely didn’t name any names because I’m not looking to gain attention over a flamewar.

      If one of the people I’ve hurt (astoundingly!) wants to talk to me about it, he or she is welcome to. I do my best not to cause anyone pain, but I’m also not willing to shut up just because it makes other people uncomfortable.

  19. Defender2 June 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    I’d have to agree with Defender on this one. You and @markleggett handled this very immaturely and it has nothing to do with whether you think this person stole your tweet to cause you (financial) harm or was just inspired by it.
    Calling names, Mark, you should be ashamed of yourself. I follow your tweets and this person’s as well and I do not think this person you 2 take as an example has ever “stolen” any of yours. The tweet(s) in question were clearly either coincidental or, in the worst of cases, inspired by the original tweet. Had either of you really wanted to make a point clear and “speak out about plagiarism in general”, no calling out would have taken place. I still follow you both because I like what you write, but if twitter were based on personality for me, I wouldn’t follow either of you anywhere. I do hope you two find it in you to become successful “human beings” before you seek out professional success.

    • Louis Peitzman June 17, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

      Again, this blog post is about plagiarism on Twitter in general. I didn’t mention a single person by name. The tweeter you’re referring to can comment directly.

      And I think it’s a little ridiculous that you’re following me despite thinking I’m not a successful human being, but hey, knock yourself out.

  20. jbenick June 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Why blog for Huffington Post when you have a nice string of angry comments right here? Are you a sadist or something?

  21. Mark Leggett June 17, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    So it’s okay to steal something, but not to call someone out on it? I might be an asshole (It’s true, I am) but what they’re doing is worse. It’s not “set fire to an orphanage” worse, but it’s still not cool.

    To be honest I’m okay with your insults, because if someone who doesn’t value originality thinks I’m an asshole, I must be doing something right. Louis actually handled this in a very mature way and showed a level of restraint that I chose not to use, so make sure that you direct your frustration at the right person. And you’re right, the person I named didn’t steal from me, that’s not the point.

    That person follows, retweets, and favourites people’s tweets, even tries to converse with them on Twitter, then two months later will either cut and paste their tweets either exactly, or will slightly change some words and post them as their own. When someone calls them out by showing the original tweet and then her copy, she quickly deletes them all (without protesting her innocence), claims she’s being cyber-bullied, sulks for three days, then repeats the process when she thinks everyone has forgotten about it. I’d love to show you numerous examples of very clear thefts from her, but I can’t because she’s deleted them all. Funny that. Why follow her when all you’re seeing are tweets from others remixed?

    When people say “Oh it’s a coincidence” or “inspired by” I do cringe a little. Not because I don’t think those two things happen (of course that happens all the time when millions of people are talking about the same thing) but because it’s a clumsy way for some people to excuse plagiarism.
    There are plenty of people who will steal word for word. Some of them even write in their bios “I steal your tweets”. This funny little thing called Twitter wouldn’t be quite so entertaining if the people who try to provide original content got fed up and stopped contributing, or went somewhere else. The very funny/clever guy or girl who has 100 followers has no chance against someone with 10,000 who steals from them. That sucks.

    I applaud the people who have disgreed with anything Louis or myself have said here who have actually used their real names, or their Twitter names like we have. Try it Defenders 1 and 2, it feels great to have a backbone! And if that means you get called an asshole on a blog with a smoking hot Golden Girls header, so be it. If anonymously calling someone names is your thing, why not head on over to Youtube and excrete some of your sparkling wit there? You already do? I thought I recognised your work!

    And if you truly think I’m a jerk, please don’t follow me. Let’s part on good terms cocksucker!
    Anyway, I’ve spent far too much time here trying to be rational with a couple of irrational people, when I could have been busy tweeting about Batman’s groin, or crafting fifty almost humourous fart jokes. And that’s the real shame here.

    Lots of love,
    Mark Hitler-Leggett.

  22. FrankCastle June 18, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Wonderful post, Louis.

    Great replies, Mark.

    Shame on these willfully ill-informed assholes saying Louis is a prick and that the person Mark mentioned wasn’t REALLY stealing. (As has been mentioned by other people, Louis showed impressive restraint in not mentioning her name more than once. He had every right to, too.) Do some fucking research. I’ve seen literally dozens of examples of that person’s thievery, and I know there are more that were deleted before anyone screen-capped them.

    I once accidentally stole a joke. Not word for word, but it was a specific premise that I mistook as an original thought. My friend told me he’d heard it on TV, and he was right. I quickly deleted my joke, then posted an apology and said what show I accidentally took it from and that people should watch that show. THAT’S how someone who’s innocent behaves. When it happens literally dozens of times, A. there’s no way to say that’s “accidental” and B. someone who is innocent doesn’t delete the evidence then not say sorry or give credit then make the same “mistakes” over and over and over.

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