American Bedu has been running since 2006, posting daily about topics related to Saudi-Arabia. American Bedu has created a highly valuable and versatile source of information about the Kingdom online. Her candid writing style and diplomatic point of view that shines through her articles have become well known throughout the internet community. American Bedu site is one of the most popular blogs on Saudi-Arabia of all time. There has never been serious copyright violation cases, up until now.
It has come to the attention of American Bedu last week that a blog called Desert Pill Pusher has been using articles from AB without permission and posting them as their own.The blogger Sumayya Mehtar is a Riyadh expatriate and her blog has been running for over a year with the plagiarized content. Not only is this unscrupulous blogger copy pasting text, but altering the articles to sound like she in fact experienced them and then wrote them herself. One can also notice some of the plagiarized posts have images added to them in which she appears to be posing at the very location of her plagiarized post. Would it not be easier to just write the post by herself? This is called plagiarism and content theft.
The author of the plagiarizing blog has also taken material from several other bloggers in the Saudi blogosphere including Susie of Arabia, Blue Abaya, Saudi Jeans, A Canadian in Riyadh and Crossroads Arabia, to name a few. She has even used newspaper articles and works of journalists passing them on as her own without including any references, links or mention of where the articles came form. Naturally when publishing the work of others, even if adorned with trackbacks and mention of sources, it should be done only after having received permission from the original author to use the content. The author has however claimed ignorance to the existence of such rules. For someone who studied pharmacy at university level to claim not be aware of this very basic knowledge seems strange and down right inconceivable. It is something we learn in elementary school, do not steal from others.
Desert Pill Pusher runs Google Adsense on it which means that the blogger has earned at least some form of compensation from the stolen work. When a blogger creates duplicate content, the value of the site and her ranking increases. This might even result in the plagiarizing site showing up before the original one on a Google search, naturally causing more traffic to that site. One would think it’s a self evident fact not to attempt earning money off of other people’s hard work.
Fellow blogger Layla from Blue Abaya was one of the first bloggers to discover this blog by accident. Layla found several of her own articles blatantly plagiarized to sound as if the Desert pill Pusher had herself experienced the situation. In Layla’s article about visitors to the hospital, which was the first blog post to appear on DP, words such as “in Finland we” were simply changed to “in South-Africa we” making it clear the intention was to pass the content on as her own. Layla wrote in this post how to her astonishment she even found a part of her work used by Sumayya Mehtar to write a newspaper article with the same title as hers. The article was published in a South African publication called Lenasia times. In that very article Mehtar had also plagiarized from Susie of Arabia, journalist Caryle Murphy from the National and the author Bassma Al Toaimi from Destination Jeddah. Lenasia times.
Another magazine Sumayya Mehtar has written for is the Sandscript, published by the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh. It appears that her article titled “Prescription Drug Addiction” was also mostly plagiarized and has been pulled from three different sources:
hawaii island recovery.com: drugprescription addiction treatment
After being exposed, Sumayya quickly removed some articles and has been placing links after some posts to make it seem as if permission was acquired. She has issued statements and apology saying she did not understand what she was doing was wrong. Her excuse of not knowing she was plagiarizing and stealing content seem absurd. Claiming that undisclosed persons simply emailed articles to her which she then posted, unknowing that she was causing any harm or doing wrong sounds equally dubious and one wonders how the published newspaper articles happened to come upon her.
Thankfully the rest of the Saudi blogosphere is supportive and respectful of one another, and bloggers have now been joining forces to stop this. It has been suggested that the entire site be taken down because it is simply too infested with plagiarized content and making money based on theft. If she still wishes to continue blogging, the most honorable thing to do would be to start a new blog and never plagiarize content again.
Here is a list of the posts that were stolen from American Bedu:
In addition to these the Desert Pill Pusher site still contains over 30 plagiarized articles on it.
AN sent us the follow up, The Blogger Team agrees with us, a lot of the plagiarized content has been removed. Many thanks to the bloggers who have put in so much work and effort into following up on this infringement of copyright, which protects and benefits us all.
The Blogger Team email@example.com 12:54 AM (11 hours ago)
to me Hello,
Thanks for reaching out to us.
In accordance with the DMCA, we have completed processing your infringement complaint and the content in question no longer appears on the following URLs:
Please let us know if we can assist you further.