That is, my original article has been copied and pasted into other forums and blogs without proper credit to me as the author (plagiarized).
At first, I was outraged. The idea that people were blatantly discrediting my article in an attempt to pass it off as their own writing was infuriating. I would try to contact the offending party, asking them to provide a link to the source or remove the article. Their response was surprising.
Finding sites quoting my original article isn’t hard. A Google Search of 10 reasons it doesn’t pay to be the computer guy displays my original article followed by similarly titled blog posts or forum threads in a list that spans several pages. The hard part is sifting through these results and determining which republications aren’t giving credit to the article source.
Whenever I located a site that was plagiarizing my content, I would contact the blog author or forum administrator indicating that my article has been republished on their site without permission.
Surprisingly, the typical response I received was an apology. Furthermore, all apologies were coupled with a promise to correctly link back to my article as the original source.
Most people reacted this way because they didn’t read the article here on LifeReboot.com — they read a plagiarized republication on another site. Therefore, when they republished the article on their own site, they were unaware they were doing anything wrong.
In other words, most of them were simply uninformed about the true source of the original article.
Considering the vastness of the World Wide Web, it’s an easily forgivable mistake. Once these site owners were made aware of what needed to be done to reverse it, they did it without argument.
To everyone who has acknowledged that they made an honest mistake and worked to correct it: Thank you.
Of course, there were also some individuals that preferred to play hardball. They ignored — and possibly deleted — my email messages, blog comments, or forum replies requesting proper acknowledgment of the article source. To everyone that falls into this category: Whatever.
I’ve been trying to stay on top of the unauthorized republications for over a month now, and I’ve decided it’s not worth it. My reasoning is that if I can’t convince someone to give me proper credit to my original work after the first attempt, then that someone doesn’t deserve any more of my time.
Some of you are probably thinking “What!? Shaun is giving up!?”
In this single pursuit, yes — though I prefer saying I’m choosing to let go.
What’s the difference? Well, you give up things that are yours to give up. You can give up piano lessons, or ballet, or a childhood dream of growing up to be a fighter pilot.
You let go of the things that were never yours to begin with. In this instance, I was trying to control how other people use the Internet.
This objective view of my actions seems quite silly, doesn’t it? It’s impossible. Why have I even wasted my time trying to control things I simply can’t?
For the same reason it’s hard to let go. I wrote the article. It’s something of mine, and I don’t like other people stealing it. I felt like I could still protect it somehow. All of these feelings made it difficult to accept the fact that it is beyond my control now.
It’s been a hard lesson to learn, but it’s factual: There are some things you can control, and some things you can’t.
When you learn to let go of the things you can’t control, you can focus your efforts on improving the things you can.
Invest time into things that are worthwhile. Don’t let people rent space in your head. In other words: Don’t sweat the small stuff.
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