On Plagiarism… And Forgiveness

I took this to heart, especially as someone who has worked tirelessly for inmate’s rights in the US and Canadian prison system, as well as to eliminate the death penalty. I have been an atheist every day of my life and I have always been immensely forgiving. Some would even say to a fault.

I tossed around the idea of writing a response post to this Christian’s post, but ultimately decided that it was a waste of time. It was a sensationalist piece, written precisely to get under our skin. I wasn’t going to feed the troll.

But then, a week later, Jaclyn Glenn got caught plagiarizing another’s work. As the storm gathered steam, and we all waited for her response, more examples came out of her plagiarism. It was beyond denial: she had stolen the work of others and claimed it as her own.

To catch up on what’s happened, click here.

I have had the memes I spend hours making, reposted with my logo cut out. I’ve had a blog post I wrote, copied word for word and posted on another’s blog and credited to someone else. I have been on the other end of what Jaclyn did and it doesn’t feel nice. Currently, there is still someone on Twitter impersonating me, using my photos, my name. It’s absolutely infuriating.

I work my ass off here. I do it for nothing. Yes, I make a small amount of money on Patreon every month, but it doesn’t even cover the costs of running this web site and all the social spaces associated with it. It certainly doesn’t cover the time I put into it. In spite of the fact that I make no money at this, I still bust my ass at it. I give you everything for free. None of my content has a price on it. So, when someone takes it and calls it their own, it’s beyond upsetting. There really isn’t a word to describe how it makes me feel.

With that said, however, if any one of the people who took my work and posted it as their own, responded to me upon first contact, admitted wrong and took it down, I would be ecstatic. That’s not how it usually happens. I usually have to prove it. I have to use useless support systems on social media that don’t give two shits what I do and who takes it. I found out I actually have to legally copyright some things. Through contacting hosting companies, email providers, and internet services providers in order to report use of my work, I usually come up against one giant stumbling block: I have to provide documentation of the copyright.

GM Aside: If you want to contribute to my copyright/trademark fees fund, which would be just an unbelievable help: click here – if you can’t, know that everything from me will always be free for you no matter what.

It’s led me down a rabbit hole that seems to have fees at every bump. If the person who stole my work, would just respond the first time, admit fault and take my work down, I’d be so happy. It would be so much easier.

I get it. What Jaclyn did was awful. What she did is angering. What she did is something we should definitely keep an eye out for in the future considering we already have multiple examples.

But she did admit it. She came clean. She took the work in question down. There will be no fight, YouTube does not have to get involved, no lawyers need be called. She has apologized.

I know how easy it is to be angry about this, but as an atheist who is forgiving to a fault, I truly hope there are others like me. I’m not going to go on record to say I don’t think she’ll ever do it again. I have no way of predicting that, but what I can do, is recognize that when she addressed this live on a podcast with a ton of viewers, it took guts. I can laugh in the face of religious people who say atheists can’t know what true forgiveness is and prove them wrong. I can forgive Jaclyn. I can recognize the character it required for her to face thousands of angry people and say, “Yeah. I did a shitty thing and I’m not going to make any excuses.” I can recognize that we have all made mistakes, some worse than others, and a great many of us learn from them.

I don’t expect you to re-subscribe to her channel or support her future videos. What I do hope, however, is that the anger dies down. As someone who has been the victim of plagiarism before, I can safely say that as infuriating as it is, our efforts are better spent on problems that have not been admitted to, apologized for and cleaned up already. If that post I read by the Christian blogger last week is any indication, we stand to gain a lot more proving we can be forgiving, than we do continuing to tear a strip of someone who has come clean.

#forgiveness #youtube

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