Plagiarism tends to take place where it is easiest to perform and easiest to conceal. Tools and services that make it simple to publish to the Web are always going to be the most popular environment for thieves of all varieties. The basic principle is that if someone’s not going to take the time to create original work, they aren’t going to create an elaborate site around it. In my personal experience, I’ve only met two or three plagiarists out of hundreds who went above and beyond cookie-cutter sites.
As a result of this, message boards and forums have always been popular among thieves, they offered one-click publishing long before blogging was even thought of. It was a simple environment to work in where they could make friends and receive praise quickly for their (plagiarized) works. Though getting caught meant risking an online tar and feathering, it was a small risk.
Then, Blogging came along….
With services such as LiveJournal, Blogger and MSN Spaces offering free blogs with simple setup, anyone could enjoy the ease of one-click publishing with the power and control of running their own site.
Rather than being subjected to forum administrators and the limitations of a message board, plagiarists can, with just a few extra clicks, rule their own domain. This means they can silence opposition (including those who point out that works are stolen), have a place that seems to be truly theirs and network with other bloggers to quickly gain respect and credibility.
This isn’t to say that plagiarist bloggers are bulletproof, far from it. All of the large blogging services, including the ones listed above, have adopted strong copyright policies and regularly suspend those who infringe. Also, other bloggers often chime in on their own sites rather than simply posting comments, thus eliminating the level perceived control.
The problem is that a variety of smaller blogging services have emerged, services that little to no copyright policy and do next to nothing to protect copyrights online. Many of them are so unprofessional that mail to the abuse account bounces and others simply ignore requests for removal. These small sites with weak networks offer little to legitimate bloggers who want to build a strong network but offer a haven for thieves of all varieties.
In the end, blogging isn’t significantly different from dealing with plagiarism on forums. There are good administrators and bad ones and copyright holders have to deal with both. However, those wanting to protect their rights online need to start paying more attention to blogs and means of searching through them.
Because if blogs aren’t already the number one location for plagiarism, they will be soon.