A Tale of Two Websites
We’ve been working on self-promotion lately and to that end we’re recognized as a top Video Production Company on DesignRush. We’re also listed on ProductionHub, Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp, YouTube and many others. The field is growing, even as some lists drop out, such as the recent demise of Google+.
While searching for erroneous or out-of-date information about us, I ran across blatant plagiarism. It was online for seventeen years!
Plagiarism Detective Work
I started with Copyscape where I input our web page https://www.eimage.com/what-we-do/ . The result showed that our text also appeared on the website of Arlington Video Productions, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. Of course I immediately went to that site… and found nothing. It’s a one-page website, perhaps in a state of transition.
My next stop was the Internet Archive Wayback Machine which shows web pages as they appeared in the past. For Arlington Video they had entries going back to September 19, 2000. By December 11, 2001 they revamped their site with familiar text. Compare it to what we wrote by December 2, 1998, three years earlier:
You can tell which parts they wrote themselves because those sentences are full of typos which I’ve taken the liberty to highlight in red. Their page stayed that way until at least August 20, 2018. In those seventeen years, they managed to fix the last two typos, but not the first two.
I’m writing them a nastygram today to tell them to write their own copy. I’ll update this blog if I hear back.
They say if you give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters and an infinite amount of time, they will write all the works of Shakespeare. But the operative word is infinite. In the short term, the lesson is the same your high school English teacher probably told you: plagiarism is wrong, don’t do it, you’ll get caught. Even if it’s eighteen years later. For our purposes, technology’s reach and memory is almost infinite.