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Plagiarizers, Better Stop or You Will Get Banned

  • 7 min read

Medium doesn’t tolerate plagiarism. Get to know Medium’s one-strike policy and the story about the guy who stole my content and got…banned.

A few days ago, I received an email from a fellow follower and subscriber.

This subscriber had been reading one of my recently published stories when she came across another with a nearly identical headline and text.

What are you talking about?

I couldn’t believe it either, so I went to the link that my subscriber had sent me.

To say the least, I was taken aback.

So I tweeted a screenshot of the article with the following message:

Not sure what to say about this!!!! It’s my story with my image and the author added (now) a Disclaimer that it was rewritten based on my story. However, it’s MY story. It’s MY featured image. These are MY screenshots….”

I was at a loss for words!

Normally, I don’t like to call people out on their mistakes. This time it was different.

There are so many writers rephrasing my work, putting my stories in GPT 4, and tweaking it.

See?

On the left side is my original story about how much you can earn when you write short form stories. On the right is the plagiarized story.

my story and Mir’s story: made in Canva

The difference between our stories

  • He was linking to an AI tool in the middle of the text.
  • There was a disclaimer stating:
disclaimer of the plagiarized story

Never seen anything like this on Medium.

However, he was getting traction for this story…. almost 100 claps and 5 comments. People were asking him questions about where to start when writing short form and how long it takes to earn $100 with 150 words.

My reaction

His chance: I asked him to delete the post — he didn’t respond.

First hit: A fellow subscriber called him out and said he plagiarized my work — he denied it and pointed her to the disclaimer.

Second hit: I reported the writer by clicking on “Report” at the bottom of the story by opening the three-dot-menu “…”:

Reporting the plagiarist is super important

Massive hit: So, I asked my readers to help me (in this story) — 52 left a comment on my piece claiming their support. They either reported (and blocked) the plagiarist or left a comment asking him to delete the post.

Giant hit: I reported him via Medium’s Help Center and contacted Medium’s Trust and Safety Team by submitting a request:

Medium’s form to submit a request

In my request, I linked to the story I had written where I explained everything. Medium could see the support of over 50 people and their reactions.

SPECIAL THANKS TO MY SUPPORTERS who also want to make Medium a better place (Please forgive me if I didn’t mention you here. Thank you so much!)

🙏🏻🙏🏻Chris Thompson Nancy Blackman, MASF Michele Cambardella Carmen Ballesteros Michelle Teheux Ruth Houston R C Hammond Vitalii Hrebennikov Joseph Godwin Biliz Maharjan Carol Labuzzetta Bella of Thoughtsnlifeblog Monica Ray Jeanine Tew Joyce O’Day Marilyn Glover Michele Baumgardner Valerie Kittell Karen Cherry Jim Clyde Monge Don Sabado Trisha Dunbar (She/Her) ROCHELLE HOLLOMAN Geri Spieler Janet Meisel Angelina Radulovic Susie Kearley Jean Davis Charlotte Clark Matt Doyle Scott-Ryan Abt Kelley Murphy Martin Knapp Lisa Cunningham DeLauney Alicia Domínguez Natalya J. Edwards Francis B. Elin Melaas Teresa Morillas Patricia Ross Johnnie Burger Lucy Weir June Kirri Judey Kalchik Veronica Llorca-Smith Sheila Tracy Elizabeth Wood🙏🏻🙏🏻

Knockdown!

9 pm — I wrote my story and filled in the form in the evening (German time).

6 am — When I woke up the next morning I checked my emails. Medium’s Trust and Safety team informed me they would scan the article.

7 am — Susie Kearley informed me that the story has been deleted. I checked the link and got an error 404.

error 410 when going on the link to the plagiarized story

What’s error 410?

Error 404 = this post is under investigation or was found in Violation of the Medium Rules.

7:30 am — Got my son to kindergarten.

8 am — I sent another email to Medium’s Trust and Safety team thanking them but asking them why they didn’t suspend the account.

12 am — I got an email from Medium stating that the reported account has been found in violation of Medium’s rules and policies and was now suspended. YEAH!

email from Medium’s Trust and Safety Team

Medium’s One-Strike-Policy

Fun fact about me: I have my big latinum.

Did you know that the Latin word “plagiarius” means “thief” or “kidnapper”?

In general new writers have to know that Medium doesn’t tolerate, accept or condone content thieves who pretend that they thought of something or created content they stole from another person.

It’s a punishable offense.

Medium has specific policies around plagiarism on the platform and Medium’s Rules say

“Users found in violation of our copyright rules are not eligible for appeal or restoration.”

How does Medium define plagiarism?

“(…) as any act of taking the words and/or ideas of others and presenting them as original or without proper acknowledgment or permission.”

Including…

  • directly copying ideas and text
  • paraphrasing
  • slight re-writes
  • failure to cite sources.

When in doubt, always give credit!

Niklas Göke, the former editor of CEO Tony Stubblebine’s publication Better Marketing, shared:

“If you don’t give credit where it’s due, you’re stealing it.”

In fact, it’s super easy to give credit. Simply link to the story of another writer or the source you’re referring to.

“Give more than you think you need to, and you’ll be on the safe side.”

You’ll lose your earnings, followers, subscribers, and access to your profile

On Medium, plagiarism is one of the most common reasons writers get removed from the platform.

I still remember the story of a writer who plagiarized the content of YouTube videos.

As far as I can remember, it was a student of Sinem Guenel.

Medium informed her that her account was under investigation.

She received several warnings from Medium via email, but she continued to write without citing her sources.

In the end, she was suspended and banned.

The person who shared this story pointed out that this author did not receive any money for her stories via Stripe.

She also lost all her followers, subscribers, and access to her profile.

“(…) contrary to what repeat plagiarizers believe, it does not make you look like less of an original thinker. On the contrary, it makes you look like someone who knows how to assemble a new idea based on multiple sources.” Niklas Göke shared.

Bottom Line

If for instance, Better Marketing finds someone who is plagiarizing the work of others, the publication will prohibit this author from publishing with the publication going forward.

”We have a one-strike policy here. If you plagiarize, we’ll ban you.”


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