please read. and please reblog.

writingsforwinter:

Please, please read.

3 years ago I wrote a very personal prose piece titled The Morning After I Killed Myself, about a young woman who commits suicide and looks back on the impact it has on her family and friends and ends up regretting her decision. I posted it on my writing blog 3 years ago and it went viral, shared over 300,000 times on my blog and almost a million times on Imgur/Reddit. 

So many people have told me it’s saved their lives.

But I almost wish I hadn’t written it. Because, despite all the good it managed to do, it’s been plagiarized a few hundred times, probably several hundred.
I’ve seen dozens of cases of it being stolen and retitled with someone else’s name as the author, cases of it being published in someone else’s book under their name, cases of it being used as song lyrics by a band who claims they wrote it, cases of it being posted nearly ten times on the same website alone and because the website is so enormous they didn’t catch each instance of plagiarism…

Once a girl based her senior art thesis off of my piece…only she accidentally based it off of a plagiarized version of my piece and had no idea. She called me, a complete stranger, in tears, begging me to forgive her for something that was not her fault at all, but the fault of the person who plagiarized me. She had to redo portions of the thesis she worked so hard on.

I’ve had cases of it being submitted to writing contests under other peoples’ names and them winning awards for it. One girl submitted it to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and won a gold key for it, coincidentally the same contest I submitted some of my work to in high school and won awards for. What was her excuse? She said she read the piece awhile ago, liked it so much that she saved it to her computer, and when the time came to submit to the contest, she “forgot she hadn’t written it” and sent it in under her name.

I had a case of a stranger who posted it on their blog under their name and when I asked them, politely, to provide me with credit and remove their name, they claimed they’d “written the piece 10 years ago in their private journal and that I was the one who plagiarized them.”

I’ve had cases of people messaging my writing blog and accusing me of plagiarism…of my own piece, because they saw plagiarized versions of it going viral and had no idea I was the original author.

And finally, a few weeks ago, a girl submitted it to a contest under her name and won $100 for it. Now she’s apparently denying plagiarism.

This piece of mine was intended to help people. It’s a very very personal piece and always will be. I’m glad it’s helped so many people. But something that is so personal and painful for me has been twisted and manipulated and stolen and published for profit and taken away from me so many times I’ve lost count.
I don’t care about money. But when I saw this girl win $100 for a piece about suicide that I wrote, that is the last straw.

Please, for the love of god, don’t steal from artists and writers. Don’t steal something and claim you wrote it. Write and create your own work. If you see a piece of art or writing floating around with no source or a mis-attributed source, tell the original author. Spread the word. Don’t share artworks without sources on them. 

You might think that it’s not a big deal, that it doesn’t matter, that it only happened once.

But it happens all the time. All the time. This is exhausting and artists deserve credit. They deserve respect.

I’ve considered deleting the writing blog I’ve had for 5 years because of how often this piece is plagiarized.

Don’t let it get to that point, where someone considers getting rid of something they love because it’s hardly theirs anymore.

Thanks for reading.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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