An Open Letter to the Person Who Plagiarized My Work
Published on August 14, 2014
Yesterday, a photo from My Sweets’ Haven’s Facebook page appeared to my feeds. My best friend, Joie, is selling pastries. And being the ever-supportive friend that I have always been to her, I LIKED her photo. And then, I saw her reply with a tag of a person's name. I was surprised because the tag didn’t have a link that was visible to me, and I could not see your comment in which my friend replied to. But I knew it was you. I will never forget that name.
Because it is innate in me to be a “CSI”, I used my husband’s Facebook account to see if it’s really you. I felt the urge to warn my friend because of what you did to me before. The confirmation came a few seconds after I clicked your profile. While I was looking at it, I saw one of your NOTES titled Movie Review: She’s Dating the Gangster. I clicked it. After reading the first few sentences, I knew something was terribly wrong. How come the words were so familiar? Well, those words were MINE. You stole my work. Every word. Well, except for one. You changed the word “husband” to someone else’s name. Below are the screenshots of your note. My original post is found here.
We’re not friends in FB, and I could not view your profile. That must only mean one thing. You BLOCKED me. I didn’t mind at all, in case you’re curious. You did something horrible to me and to my friend years ago. It was something that we could have easily won in court if we just decided to file a case against you. Don’t worry, I will not say here what it is. I am not that kind of person. But despite of that, we chose to FORGIVE you. We figured that you just needed all the help that you could possibly get at that time, so my friend and I opted to FORGET what you did. Ikaw ang may atraso sa amin. Honestly, I would have not remembered it if not for this incident. It pains me because I NEVER treated you badly. I was a friend to you when you needed one. You probably thought that you could get away with this one the way you got away the first time. But you made two mistakes. 1) You inquired at my best friend's business. 2) You forgot to block my husband.
This time, you did it again. You stole something from me again. You may think that I am overreacting, but all writers and artists will understand where I am coming from. It’s not easy to come up with a decent blog post, yet it was so easy for you to copy everything, even up to the BWAHAHAHA part of my review. You are also a KathNiel fan. I would not debate on that because KathNiel has millions of fans. But you also said that you have a best friend who told you that SDTG would be the next KathNiel movie. That isn't your best friend. That's mine! And of course you deliberately changed the word “husband” to Anj. Apparently, Anj also sleeps inside the cinema just like my husband. The one post you copied is not just a movie review. It was my own personal experience. You may not be able to understand it, but my blog is a reflection of who I really am. You did not just steal my words. You stole a part of me.
I personally know you. I actually looked up to you when I was still in college because you were so warm and so friendly. If I am not mistaken, you are a MassCom graduate. We graduated from the same university. And I know that ETHICS was part of our curriculum. What you did was unethical. You can’t just go around the internet posting something that is not yours without giving proper credit to the owner. You may argue that it’s not wrong because you got it readily available in the internet. But the fact remains that it is still UNETHICAL.
I could not reach you because you BLOCKED me, remember? But Joie reached out to you. Apparently, you told her, “omg i will let my sister know akala ko gawa nya pasenya na i will erase na lng. salamat sa info. nkakahiya.” If you are lying, that makes you a thief and a liar. But I will give you the benefit of the doubt even if you told me countless of times before that you are religiously reading my blog. You even told me how good of a writer I am. So let’s just say that your sister was really the culprit, does that change anything? Given that you posted your "sister's" review, that only means that you plagiarized an already plagiarized work. You stole something that was already stolen. If that’s the case, I am expecting two apologies – one from you and one from your sister. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be getting any from you. You told Joie, “mam pkisabi nman sa friend nyo nde ko nman alam yan ginawa kapatid ko kya please pki bura nman yun post nya at buburahin ko rin. pasenya na.” You were referring to my other best friend, Aubrey, who had the boldness to share your original NOTE and add that you stole it from me. (Too bad she's also a blogger so she fully understood how I feel.) Aubrey included the link of my original post, which only means that you already knew that I wrote it. My blog's URL carry my name, so it's impossible for you not to remember who I am. And yet you even had the audacity to demand from my friend to take down her post without even apologizing to me. Just like Joie said, you should not be apologizing to her. You should apologize to me. But then again, I am not expecting to get it from you. You might be thinking that I will bring up your previous atraso. Again, you should not worry. I am not that kind of person. And just to be clear, we’re not cyberbullying you. That’s the thing about my friends, they stand behind me when they know that I am on the right side. That was the kind of friend I was to you before you decided to throw our friendship away.
Now, allow me to go beyond your act of plagiarism. I have a college classmate who knows you. And when he checked your profile, he was surprised that you two didn’t have any common Facebook friends. That was odd given that we belonged to the same organization in college. Does this mean that you also BLOCKED those people? May atraso ka rin ba sa kanila? Anyway, that’s none of my business. But please take this piece of advice. Huwag mong paliitin ang mundo mo.
I thank you, though. Because of what you did, I found out my friends’ willingness to help and defend me. I got a private message from a friend, who happens to be a lawyer, telling me that I could file a case against you. Another friend sent me a screenshot of her conversation with a lawyer about the steps that I could take against you. I have tons of friends who told me that I should report you to Facebook.
Because of what you did, I discovered some of my “silent” readers. They are those who visit my blog without leaving a comment. But today, they went out of their way to comfort me and to tell me things like “You are a great writer” and “Imitation is the best form of flattery.”
Because of what you did, I had a great laugh today! Aubrey said that she reported you to Facebook. But since only I can report a copyright infringement to FB, she reported your NOTE as a SPAM! (Hahaha!) Another friend told me, “Kainis nga yan nireport ko rin sa FB kaso kala ko may part na puwede mo ikwento.. kaya ayun ang nareport ko lang hinarass ka haha” So thank you for making me laugh today!
Because of what you did, this humble blog of mine generated an enormous traffic yesterday! I was getting lots of hits to my original SDTG post. I guess people were too curious and decided to compare my work versus yours. In case you don't know, it's good for my blog!
Because of what you did, I found out how capable my heart is to forgive. Believe it or not, I have long forgiven you with your prior “mistakes”. You didn’t apologize then, and I know you will not apologize this time either. But I forgive you. I was actually surprised! I didn’t know I could do it.
Because of what you did, I realized that it’s cool to always choose kindness. A friend told me, “You're too special to waste your energies with that exercise - kill them with kindness.” I chose to be kind to you before, more so today. But being kind does not mean that I will just overlook this incident. I needed to catch your attention. That’s how things should work. But after this, we can just peacefully go on with our respective lives.
A friend told me that your FB cover photo says something like “Choose Christ.” I am not judging you. I am not judging the kind of Christian that you are. I know you are not a perfect Christian. I am a work in progress, too. But I do hope that you live by what your cover photo says. We both know that choosing Christ means choosing humility. Be humble enough to own up to your mistakes. This isn't the first time that my work was plagiarized. Years ago, I found one of my blog entries posted to another blog. The blogger reached out to me, apologized non-stop and didn't give any BS excuse on why he did it. Again, I am not expecting you (and your sister) to apologize to me. (Although the thought of you issuing a public apology to me is very, very, very tempting!) But it would not hurt if you apologize to those people who believed that my work was yours, to your 8 friends who LIKED your NOTE, to my friends who did not deserve the unnecessary stress that you brought them, and to all my avid readers who treat my blog as their safe haven, their happy place, their connection to their virtual friend from the internet.
I know you are not a bad person. With your first mistake, I knew that you were just a victim of life’s unfortunate circumstances. This time, I know that it was just a result of poor judgment. And so, I wish you well.