Monday, December 11, 2006

If Imitation is Sincere Flattery, Then What is Theft?

A recent post from Amy Calistri comes to mind today, in which she discussed a competitor site that had been rather freely rewriting several of her pieces.

I feel her pain.

Anyone who visits on a regular basis has probably noticed that editor John Caldwell uses me for two basic tasks. I'm in the rotation as one of the current news and events writers, and I've assumed a lot of the reporting duties for the biggest online events. Every Sunday night, for several months now, I've been monitoring the action at the Stars Sunday Million, the Full Tilt $250K $350K Guaranteed, Ultimate Bet's $200K Guaranteed, the Party Poker Once-Was-a-Million, and so on. I enjoy it, I'm getting better at it, and it's teaching me a whole lot about nuts-and-bolts tournament-action writing.

I'm also becoming skilled at juggling multiple computers and online poker clients to make sure I catch the majority of the action, because not all of the big sites have hand-history functions that work as advertised. Stars' hand history is the best, Full Tilt's is pretty good (although it only goes back 50 hands), and after that the other sites pretty much suck for third-party reference purposes. Ultimate Bet's history used to work fine but every since their last software upgrade, it does not track properly. And don't even get me started on the abominations at Party or Bodog.

I bring that stuff up just to illustrate that on Sunday nights, I'm doing my best imitation of real work. I think I've done a good job at coming up to speed on the whole mess, capturing the highlights of what's usually four separate tournaments for a single article that normally comes in between 1,500 and 1,800 words. It takes several hours, but by between 2 and 3 a.m. my time on Monday morning I've fired off the copy to John, who gives it a good once-over before it pops up on the site sometime between late morning and the middle of the afternoon on Monday.

And like clockwork, two or three hours later, shortened and badly rewritten versions of my tourney wraps pop up on a Danish site, Fucksticks, they are. Maybe even asswipes. Yes, definitely asswipes.

As Amy noted when she wrote about her own discovery of content swipery, the devil's in the details. There are always two or three distinctive details that I incorporate into every piece, and as sure as the sun rises over Gary, Indiana, those same few details invariably find their way into's ripped-off versions of my work. It bugs me, because I know that my employer ( is the one really getting ripped off here --- they're paying me for my efforts, and then a shit site like this comes along and steals the effort that goes into the work.

To the dickwads at Put the effort into it yourself. Go sweat those tables on your own. Learn the difference between rewriting a press release and rewriting someone else's original content. And until you do learn the difference, don't expect even the slightest bit of public respect. I've checked on you, dear Danish fucksticks: Your unrepetentant thievery goes back for years, doesn't it?

As for the rest of you, I'd appreciate if you didn't patronize any of the affiliate or bonus links at There's not a lot I can do about these people, but public scorn is certainly well deserved.


Anonymous said...

I obviously feel your pain. I had one theiving site respond to my emails saying "Everyone is doing it. What do you expect us to do about it?" Uh...maybe care that you are dangerously close to breaking the copyright laws and totally dis'ing writers and paying clients I guess.

Anonymous said...

Hey Haley,

Been there, had it done to me as well. Sometimes a simple e-mail to the site is enough to get them to NOT suck an article verbatim but, more often than not, nothing is done. I got to agree with Amy, some point, these wiseasses need to wake up and realize they are ripping writers like us off!

Haley said...

Oh, I know, guys, but thanks for the kind thoughts. Slow week for writing since I couldn't make the winter Vegas fun.

You know, I could just call it a rite of passage and accentuate the positive --- someone thinks I've written something worth swiping.