Help! I’m Being Plagiarized by Astrology.com!

plagiarismImagine my surprise when one of my clients sent me an email titled: “On astrology.com but saw it on elsaelsa first…”

She writes:

Hi Elsa,

I wanted to pass this forward along to you. I get my horoscope sent to me by the MSN astrology folks and now and again they send a newsletter. There is a paragraph in this newsletter that resonated with me and I recognized it as something I had read on your blog. You have it in the transit Watch: Solar Eclipse In Capricorn + Mercury Direct – January 14-15, 2010.

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least pass this along so you are aware of it. I definitely read it through you first, so I’m hoping they are not hijacking your valuable insight. I don’t write a blog… but if I did I certainly wouldn’t want others claiming my words as their own.

I found the plagiarized text of the Astrology.com email re-posted here.

You can judge for yourself, but here are some side-by-side excerpts:

First excerpt of text of my original post:

…this eclipse has love karma written all over it.

I hate to repeat, repeat, repeat myself but the fact is LOVE and PARTNERSHIP is serious business right now. If you have it, how do you keep it? If you don’t have it, how do you get it? How do you deal with the reality your partner is human and even worse, so are you!

First excerpt of plagiarized text written by astrology.com:

This eclipse has love karma written all over it! Love and partnerships are serious business right now! If you have it, how do you keep it? If you don’t have it, how do you get it? How do you deal with the reality that both you and your partner are human?

Here’s another side-by-side comparison…

Second excerpt of text of my original post:

The new Moon is always time to set an intention and with Venus right there and ruler of the New Moon, Saturn in Libra, ambition around love and money is the way to go. How can you get in position, secure your position, elevate your position, etc.

Second excerpt of plagiarized text written by astrology.com:

The new Moon is also time to set an intention. Venus is the ruler of the new Moon, while Saturn is in Libra. Mercury turns direct later the same day, but Mars is still retrograde and Mercury is in Capricorn, so expect things to be slow for a while.

Does anybody know somebody at Astrology.com? I would like an apology from them and a new newsletter sent out to direct their readers to the actual writer. Does that sound like a reasonable request?

Please re-tweet this…


Comments

Help! I’m Being Plagiarized by Astrology.com! — 50 Comments

  1. Elsa,

    What an outrage! This happened to me a few months ago, and I quietly wrote to the “writer” who also claimed to be an astrologer and gave her a private piece of my mind. She took her plagiarized posts down immediately. Because a specific author’s name is not attached to what they’ve stolen from you, going to the higher-ups there is probably your best bet. Good luck, and my heart goes out to you – having your work stolen is like being stabbed in the chest.

  2. That seems more than reasonable, and they should be thankful that you don’t just take them to court for plagarizing your work!! Hope you get to the bottom of this!!

  3. That is outrageous!!

    Don’t they have their own astrologers over there?

    How amazing that someone actually read it and recognized it as your work – I never liked that website, always thought it was very commercial, and well simplistic.

    Can they get away with it? I certainly hope not!!

  4. That is shocking, what cheek!

    I agree with Daeshii and Shannon that your response is more than reasonable.

    If it was me I would be a lot less restrained, and I know that for a fact…. as right now, I am really cross and it’s not even my work.

  5. I’mn sorry you have to deal with this, Elsa.

    Yes, sounds very reasonable. If they can’t bother to do their own work, the least they can do is to quote the source.
    I wonder if they really thought they would get away with this whithout anyone noticing it… A blunt copy/paste!? Really!? Geez…

  6. I know that everyone here finds this to be an outrage, as do I; but to tell you the truth I see material that mirrors stuff I’ve read elsewhere ALL THE TIME ! I’m beginning to wonder if half these people have any original thoughts, or if anyone is even bothering to run their regurg-a-chart software; in order to post something. Frickin’ lazy !

    At least we have the class and good taste to gravitate to Elsa’s blog, where everything posted is as real as it gets. Thanks, Elsa !

    I’d like to find out who posts at Astrology.com, and publicly embarrass them. No one who commits plagiarism deserves to have a blog, much less a following. I hope it comes back to bite them in the ass , and soon !

  7. It’s beyond reasonable to ask for an apology, retraction and public grovelling. If they refuse, get out the guns… I think they’ve got money, aren’t they affiliated with iVillage?

  8. MSN is Microsoft. They have kabillions of dollars. If I were you, I would approach their legal people and offer them your content—for a fee that means something to you—and tell them that in that case you won’t sue. Maybe you can provide content to them regularly and get a good salary out of it.

  9. i second tinaroma. that’s plagiarism, pure and simple. what you’re asking for is very reasonable, but you have the right to recourse for having your work stolen (which is what this is.)
    depends on how much you want to fight for it…

  10. hitchiker72, you are right and while astrology.com is ultimately responsible for what they send out, they were bamboozled by a writer (who I have yet to hear from) and they are acting to make it right in exactly the way I requested.

  11. Wow. I saw it, too. I recognized it immediately, and considered alerting you, Elsa. But then I talked myself into believing you contracted out with them or something. Doink. People have no shame about stealing stuff off the net!

  12. I am continually astonished by people’s lack of integrity. Ugh. It makes me sick. Is that projection, by the way, can anyone verify? Assuming others will/should behave with the values that I would act upon?

  13. Actually a simple way to deal with this if the host (server) is in the US in any way. File a DMCA notice with the ISP. They act on those quickly. Sorry to see the mess that happened. Glad to know it wasn’t them personally but a writer that thought they could get away with it.

  14. That’s good to know – glad you got it rectified. I’m wondering, though, for future reference – what contact info did you use to get in touch with them? 🙂

  15. That was great that someone caught this and sent it on to you…..the audacity of the person who “stole” your words, but at the same time…..how cheezy and lame (as my son would say)….

  16. The irony is I said in that post I was going to get a “kiss” under this solar eclipse and the wide exposure the post is going to get because of this, qualifies, I’d say.

    Also, I have said many times on this blog, “Stick your knife in me and I get your knife.”

    This is a good example of that.

  17. Glad to hear it was resolved quickly. I have a musician composer friend who one day found his music on some random website. He was pissed, but flattered. He hadn’t copyrighted his music, though… so who knows what became of that. In any form, it is not right to steal from others.

  18. Oh that just utterly pisses me off! How dare they do that!?! Had years of being plagiarised when I was commissioned to do big year ahead spreads in December I’d see my work regurgitated in January by wannabee but lazy folk and it sucks. people do need to stand up, and it’s just great to hear resolution and even a silver lining there..yes indeed, a kiss!

  19. Well, I’m glad they acted so quickly. Your blog supports THEM because it helps legitimize astrology, which benefits them. I’m glad they’re not being dicks about this.

  20. On behalf of Astrology.com I apologize for the fact that we included text from Elsa Panizzon, without permission or attribution, in a promotional email we sent today. Our use of Elsa’s text was the result of a mistake by one of our writers.

    Astrology.com deeply regrets this and will send a follow-up email, to everyone who got the first email, telling them about this breakdown and directing them to the original text on Elsa’s site.

    In addition, we are reviewing our procedures, and adding additional checks, to make sure this does not happen again.

    We appreciate the fact that Elsa brought this to our attention and for her giving us the opportunity to make amends.

  21. Thanks for the apology Mark. It’s much appreciated!

    I do have one question though. What do you mean by “a mistake by one of our writers”?

    This seems like straight up plagiarism to me. The author not only stole Elsa’s text, he or she also edited it. That doesn’t sound like a mistake to me…

  22. I’d have to agree with hq. Kind of hard to ‘mistakenly’ cut and paste and edit(unless they’ve got one hell of a twitch:)). That requires some effort and premeditation.

  23. So great that your client caught this and how it all comes together in the end, to your and new readers benefit. Wishing you many more kisses!

  24. Elsa, I used to work for one of those sites (not astrology.com), both as a writer and an editor. It’s a fairly safe bet that the writer in question will be fired.

    The writers they employ for the most part are astrologers or at least have a working knowledge of astrology — enough to write a basic horoscope — but I understand the temptation to do what she (presumably) did. The writers for those sites are notoriously overworked and vastly underpaid. In short, they are astrology sweatshops, and if I hadn’t signed a confidentiality agreement, I’d blow the lid off the whole thing.

    Nothwithstanding, there is no excuse for using another writer’s work, and the writer will pay appropriately for her “mistake,” as it should be. The company indeed is getting off easy and is lucky you’re not married to a high-price intellectual property lawyer. They know damn well how bad it could have been.

    If nothing else, though, the writer should have known not to chance such a thing during Mercury and Mars Rx. 🙂

  25. Well i like Astrology com but They have things to learn From The Masters to keep Growing:

    1.- Home Feeling !!!

    2.- Sense of Humour !!!

    3.- Great Way To Say Insights !!!

    Etc Etc… Maybe They Must ask for Help on The Topic !!!

  26. I’m both astounded at the audacity and pleased for you by how smoothly it was rectified. Now that’s efficiency!

    “Also, I have said many times on this blog, ‘Stick your knife in me and I get your knife.’

    This is a good example of that.”

    Indeed! Filing this away, because I’ve always had a fuzziness about that particular saying; although I understood the intent, I never could find an example to attach even when it was outlined in black-and-white. *smiles* But this is a damned fine example of that principle. 😀

  27. Congratulations Elsa and friends on a quick and efficient result. Glad you got to nip it in the bud and maybe others will think twice about doing this – too much of it going on.

  28. The irony is I said in that post I was going to get a “kiss” under this solar eclipse and the wide exposure the post is going to get because of this, qualifies, I’d say.

    Also, I have said many times on this blog, “Stick your knife in me and I get your knife.”

    This is a good example of that.

    Ha..thats funny,…hey Elsa…i get stuff sent to me by them as well and its cos of this i found your site…you are indeed well blessed…

  29. One good thing (for me at least, and maybe a few others), is that I found your site through their “mistake.”
    Love the blog and your style!

    I’m a new fan–

Leave a Reply to Mark Graham Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *