Stolen Articles : Why do you make such a big deal about it?

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you will know I get pretty uptight about people stealing my stuff. When I point it out I will often get some comeback from people asking why I make such a fuss about it. Here’s why.

Let me start by saying I am not delusional about what I do. I don’t think any one article in isolation is so special compared to all the other stuff out there. There are a lot of people that do what I do. It’s hard to be objective about yourself, but I think I have a few things going for me.

  • I’m pretty good at deciding what not to include in an article. Despite what a lot of people say, the Oracle documentation is good. The problem is there is much more detail than most people need for their day-to-day job. I think what I do pretty well is remove a lot of the extra stuff and make it seem less daunting, whilst giving links to the docs for those that want to dig deeper.
  • I try to include small simple copy/paste examples to demonstrate what I am saying. This is completely down to the influence of people like Tom Kyte. I did not invent this style.
  • I keep revising articles to try to improve them. It is rare something on the website goes live and is never touched again.
  • Other people have come and gone. I’ve consistently invested in my skill set (23+ years) and my website (18+ years).

Every article is what I (Tim Hall) think is important about the feature. Every blog post is my (Tim Hall’s) perspective on the issue. There is a bit of me, for better or for worse, in everything that goes out there. Over the years there have been plenty of people who have offered to write for me. I could easily have, and probably should have, turned this into a site that required almost none of my time, had a bigger scope and probably made a lot of money. Instead it is just me and what I’ve created.

I guess the best analogy would be the difference between someone stealing a car you’ve bought, compared with someone stealing a car you’ve spent years restoring. Both are bad, but the second one is gonna feel a lot worse as it feels personal.

With all that in mind, when someone takes something I’ve spent my time to produce and in a few seconds publishes it on their website I get pretty angry. Despite what you might think, I don’t mention every incident. Most get dealt with in private, but occasionally I go supernova and take to twitter. 🙂

So that’s it. That’s why you sometimes see me go ballistic over someone nicking some crappy article. 🙂



Scribd… Publisher of all things stolen…

In recent weeks it seems not a day goes by without me getting a notification of a stolen article that has been uploaded into Scribd ( To be fair to them, every time I’ve written to ask them to remove the content they have done, but I’m failing to see the business model here. From what I can see the whole site is just made up of stolen PowerPoint, PDF, Word and HTML files. There seems to be little if any original content present at all.

As far as my own slides and html files are concerned, the users uploading them seem to make a habit of uploading anything they can get their hands on. I’ve also seen copies of Oracle books in PDF format, which look like they have been scanned in manually, and even the whole Oracle documentation in PDF format uploaded.

I just don’t see the incentive for the users of this site. What is the point of uploading documents that are already freely available on the net. Surely just a link in your favorites list is all you need. In the case of plagiarists, they are trying to pass work off as their own, but that is not what Scribd users seem to do. They just upload the content as-is. Why? I just don’t get it.

Anyway, if you publish any content and you are bored one day, have a search through Scribd (using your domain name, blog URL or real name) and you will probably find something of yours that has been stolen. If you do, follow the Copyright link at the bottom of the page and it will tell you how to send a DCMA takedown notice. They usually respond pretty quickly. I guess if everyone did this the site would be empty and they would probably move on to some other form of organised crime. 🙂



More Copyright Theft (Update)…

Regarding my previous post (here), it seems Guenadi N Jilevski has now removed the articles that are direct copies of mine. Thankyou for the quick action.

There is still at least one article remaining that contains large chunks of text scraped from my site. I guess the fact he has included his own screen grabs and some minor alterations to the text lead him to believe it is original content. Sigh.

I’m also glad to see he has removed the blog post where he attempts to defend his stance. I’ve taken copies of all the important posts for my records, but I’m hoping this marks an end to this little affair.



Update: I found a new batch of stolen stuff I’m attempting to get removed. The list from the previous post has been extended accordingly.

More Copyright Theft…

Thanks to Don Burleson for pointing me at this article by Timur Akhmadeev that lists a whole bunch of articles that have been stolen by Guenadi N Jilevski.

Unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Just looking at the stuff he’s stolen from me, there are three types ripoff:

1) Complete Copies.

2) Articles where the bulk of the copy is stolen word for word, with a couple of sections added and different screen grabs, which at first glance would make it seem original. Make no mistake, this is still stolen.

3) Articles that, although they are not direct copies, have very similar names, order of content and are published very soon after my articles were released. A quick scan through makes it pretty obvious that they are copies that are trying hard not be be copies. The sort of schoolboy tricks teachers spot a mile off. Since these are pale imitations of the originals it’s hardly worth bothering about.

Fortunately, (and most other services/ISPs) have very clear guidelines on this matter, see ““, so I’m expecting a speedy resolution. I’ve posted comments on the offending posts asking for them to be removed. If they are not I will contact Automattic directly to get them removed. I’m guessing if everyone concerned does the same the blog will be pretty empty very soon.

I think it’s strange that in an industry that relies so heavily on trust and intellectual property a person would think nothing of stealing someone elses work. You might as well put a tag line on your blog reading, “Don’t hire me. I’m gonna steal everything I can from you!”




  1. I was advised to break the links to his content to avoid giving him extra publicity. 🙂
  2. It seems trust is not a big deal these days:
  3. Looks like this issue is mostly resolved from my perspective. See here.
  4. I found another bunch of stolen stuff: