The plagiarism of Christian Bruhin
Thurs 15th Dec 16
Update - 16th Dec
As this post went up, I contacted the owners of the blogs I reference at the end of the article to let them know what was going on. Hackaday came back and said they would look into it and Christine from FOSS Force sent a really nice email with some good legalease in it. At 18:26 last night Christine got a mail from Christian to say he was taking the content offline and at 18:40 a second mail to say the blog was down, which we did then confirm.
I've exchanged a few mails with Christian this morning and while I don't think he fully understands why what he was doing was wrong, he has said he won't put up any more content in this way.
One victory in a war that I think will always be going on and that is rarely this easy to win.
There is lots of plagiarism goes on on the internet, most gets ignored, some gets reported and even less gets taken down. Some people don't realise what they are doing is wrong, they think they are helping to spread the content to a wider audience and don't realise the repercussions of using other people's content without giving credit.
Unfortunately for Christian, he contacted me for help on a Karma related issue when I had five minutes spare. If I'm going to offer someone help I'll often do a quick search to see who they are, looking for things like; are they technical, do they contribute to any projects, have they annoyed other people who have offered help, just want to get an idea of who I'm talking to. So, I searched for Christian and the first hit was a blog called "Bash and so" and an article that didn't seem formatted quite right and contained mentions of a hackaday.com email address - https://bash-and-so.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/raspberry-pi-send-me-letter.html (I'm not linking content here as I don't want to drive spiders and things to his site).
A quick search for the opening paragraph found that the article was originally from Hackaday. So I asked Christian about this and he said it was his site and that it was an RSS consolidator he had written. Over the next hour or so I tried to explain to him that putting up other people's content without getting permission and without giving full, obvious, credit, is plagiarism and most authors don't like it, especially those who use their writing to earn money or to attract business. I've published a full copy of the email thread where he offers to take down any content if he is requested to but comes the the final decision:
i calculated the possible different outcomes of your doing. I accept it and can life with it, my project is not really that big or important to me, however i would be happy if someone would contact me for my work bad or good. That's why i wont delete it at this moment, but i will wait for someone to comment on their content being use.
I have a feeling that he probably didn't calculate this being one of the different outcomes!
Just to make this worse, the site includes adverts and so not only is he stealing content, Christian is actually making money from it. He also has a second site, otaherschaft.blogspot.co.uk that also appears to contain similarly stolen content but I've not gone through this one as it isn't really my area of expertise.
I've listed below a few examples of sites where his content comes from, if you are the author, or you know the authors, please feel free to pass on his email address, email@example.com and tell them to get in touch.
While I'm specifically calling out Christian here, especially as I explained the problem and he decided to continue, I wanted to put up an article which tried to show why plagiarism is bad. Most of us who write blogs put a lot of time into them, this article has taken me around two hours, and so we usually want to see some returns for our efforts. For me that is page views which may turn into clients if the right person reads an article, for others it is revenue from adverts or sponsorship. Whatever it is though, the content is ours and if you want to use it, please ask and if you can't be bothered asking, at least give credit in a nice, big, obvious way, not a small link at the end that says "original" or something similar.
Christian, I hope when you read this you will reconsider and take the site down, make it private or at least give credit. Anyone else reading who has a similar site, have a look at it and think "would the original author want me to do this?".
Lots of articles from the site, some with accidental attribution