Well, we've finally been plagiarized

We’ve experienced over the years the phenomenon of news organizations borrowing our stories without attribution.

Typically, what happens is that someone in the journalism business will use one of our stories as a starting point for their own “reporting.”  So then they’ll get someone, either on or off the record, to “confirm” the same thing we’ve already reported, and then they’ll report the item without acknowledging where they first saw it.

But, to our knowledge, we’ve never had our words cut and pasted verbatim by anything other than a small, no-name blog site or message board.

Until now.

Yesterday afternoon, our own Michael David Smith (who writes primarily for AOL’s FanHouse.com) posted a blurb regarding Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter’s belief, as articulated on NFL Network, that Pats quarterback Tom Brady has his own set of rules.  Rich Eisen, the NFLN host extraordinaire who handled the segment with Porter, tweeted a link to the MDS story.

Several hours later, someone from “ESPN.com staff” posted the first five paragraphs of the MDS story — word for freaking word.

Word.  For freaking word.

You can do your own comparison.  Here’s MDS’ story.  And here’s the ESPN.com story.  (We figure that the ESPN.com link won’t survive much longer.  So we’ve got a screen grab of it.)

Despite the fact that our friend Mike Reiss’ photo appears on the still-active-as-of-this-posting ESPN.com page, we’re certain that this wasn’t something Reiss did.  Mike’s character is above reproach, and my guess is that he won’t be happy about this one at all.  (We also assume he currently knows nothing about it.)

We’re not trying to get the member of “ESPN.com staff” who lifted MDS’ work product fired.  But if ESPN is interested in syndicating some of our content, we think there’s a better way to go about it.

You know, a way that involves paying us for it.

49 responses to “Well, we've finally been plagiarized

  1. Next thing you know, ESPN will start wearing a rug to copy Florio.
    Remember, Mike, it’s the sincerest form flattery.

  2. Well Florio you just took the ESPN option off the table during your next contract negotiations.

  3. ESPN is a joke.
    Sue the crap out of them, please.
    While you are at it, please remove the Ads by Pulse 360. That is clearly a scam and it insults the intelligence of your readers while tarnishing the NBC brand.

  4. You guys know perfectly well what happened. An intern or a entry level research assistant lifted a story they thought was an AP report and ran it.
    Stop being espn wanna be’s that are immune to making a mistake.
    I am surprised you still arent running the Roethlisberger rape allegations stories on your front page.

  5. Everybody on the PFT staff needs to grab their bullhorns, head to the highest peak and start screaming.
    I like how they cut out the last two words of the last paragraph. What a bunch of knobs.

  6. # John says: November 6, 2009 3:26 PM
    You guys know perfectly well what happened. An intern or a entry level research assistant lifted a story they thought was an AP report and ran it.
    Stop being espn wanna be’s that are immune to making a mistake.
    I am surprised you still arent running the Roethlisberger rape allegations stories on your front page.
    On behalf of the sane people….You’re a f-cking idiot. Nice screen name, loser.

  7. Is it just me or does that guy Mike Reiss looks exactly like that guy Elaine dated cuz she thought he was black?

  8. I wonder which post is going to have more comments. They’re getting hammered over at “ESPEN.”

  9. even if it was a mistake by an intern when you’re supposed to be big time you just can’t do that. if that’s the case then espn needs to hire better interns.

  10. Sue them? On what grounds? Obama hung a plagiarized piece of art in the White House. If the Messiah can get away with that, it’s open season for everyone else! I particularly like how they changed a couple of words here or there. Did they honestly think that would give them cover? Seriously?
    Also, what an easy article to write. Why would they even plagiarize it? WTH?

  11. Over a half hour later and the story is still up on ESPN.
    It’s amazing that they didn’t think that just maybe somebody out there might actually read more than one sports website.

  12. That’s great for you Florio! Now that you work for NBC, you have access to REAL lawyers. You’ve got a shot at doubling the five grand that they gave you for PFT.

  13. @ Florio,
    I’m truly not trying to be a smart-ass…but what’s the problem? Almost every one of your posts is something regurgitated from the internet or a newspaper, or, gasp, ESPN! Do you pay them?
    I would understand your complaint if you wrote original, sourced “news” and/or “rumors” but you mostly just re-word things that are found elsewhere and/or whine about little rules infractions. The MDS piece that was “plagiarized” was just him regurgitating what I’d already watched on NFLN. Do some original reporting and then people will care if it gets ripped off.

  14. Porter takes licks on Brady
    Says Patriots QB gets preferential treatment
    November 5, 2009, 10:25 PM
    By: ESPN.com staff
    From the editors of ESPNBoston.com: A Thursday night blog post featuring Joey Porter’s comments regarding Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should have been attributed to ProFootballTalk.com. The attribution has been corrected.
    Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter says that as he prepares to face the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday, he has to prepare for a quarterback who gets protected by a special set of rules — as ProFootballTalk.com notes.

  15. Intern#1
    Dude, Im in a hurry, and Ive gotta watch this Rich Eisen interview and copy down some quotes and call it an “article,” what should I do?
    Intern#2
    Man, just go to this crappy site: Its called PFT.COM, they’ve got everything you’ll ever need about the NFL, but nobody reads it and theres always typos and stuff, just copy and paste, fix the typos and we are off to the concert!

  16. Don’t look now, but the ESPN intern has a new job… deleting any/all posts which mention plagiarism, or PFT.

  17. People still read BSPN? That whole place is such a joke now. Never know what the true story is with those guys. Now they have the #1 story stealing talking head there too, Adam Schefter.

  18. Great Job Florio, you missed a perfect chance at a ‘The Office’ plug. *Insert clip of Jim Halpert pretending to be Dwight Schrute*

  19. Sue!
    Also, what can I say? PFT is the best Football news as well as the site that gets the information down the quickest. Thanks Florio and the rest of the PFT staff.
    Sad how a company as big as ESPN has to do that.

  20. Such ridiculous indignation from a site that essentially aggregates info from other sources, does a (very thin) write through and throws them up on the site as news.
    Granted, you usually give a link to the original source, but this is way over the top — particularly the “…if ESPN is interested in syndicating some of our content, we think there’s a better way to go about it. You know, a way that involves paying us for it.” Oh really, do you pay for “syndicating” all the stories you take from everywhere else?
    Cf.
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/10/30/whitner-williams-out-for-bills/
    and
    http://www.buffalobills.com/news/article-3/Whitner-Williams-out-for-Sunday/b21f6d8a-27a7-4760-b16d-c76e74082648

  21. I can’t tell you happy the first comment at ESPN on this made me:
    Jesus… at least plagiarize a legitimate site… you’re now poaching off of a failed lawyer’s sports blog
    Someday I hope CTB is big enough to where I get slammed like that on multiple platforms like Mike does.

  22. TrojanMAAAAAN says:
    November 6, 2009 4:32 PM
    “Dang, does everyone up in Boston cheat???”
    LMAO!!!!
    YES!!!!

  23. # TrojanMAAAAAN says: November 6, 2009 4:32 PM
    Dang, does everyone up in Boston cheat???
    5/5

  24. You should have linked this story to the Vikings and Favre, or the Vikings 2005 draft so you could have gotten a comment out of Bob_Nelson – then about 50 more from Vikings fans.

  25. The link is still good, but now attributes the story to you guys:
    From the editors of ESPNBoston.com: A Thursday night blog post featuring Joey Porter’s comments regarding Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should have been attributed to ProFootballTalk.com. The attribution has been corrected.

  26. my favorite comment from one of the commenters on the espn story:
    “Porter is just jealous because Brady can get away with plagiarism as well. ”
    I’d take credit for saying that first but nah…

  27. “# pot&kettle says: November 6, 2009 4:28 PM
    Such ridiculous indignation from a site that essentially aggregates info from other sources, does a (very thin) write through and throws them up on the site as news.
    Granted, you usually give a link to the original source, but this is way over the top — particularly the “…if ESPN is interested in syndicating some of our content, we think there’s a better way to go about it. You know, a way that involves paying us for it.” Oh really, do you pay for “syndicating” all the stories you take from everywhere else?
    Cf.
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/10/30/whitner-williams-out-for-bills/
    and
    http://www.buffalobills.com/news/article-3/Whitner-Williams-out-for-Sunday/b21f6d8a-27a7-4760-b16d-c76e74082648
    I’m pretty sure the syndication thing was a joke. They don’t expect to get paid for other people using their posts that they copy from other sources.

  28. Easy now, they fixed the error and posted a lik to PFT.com’s article. Let’s all admit that ESPN was the network that took sports to a whole new level and created jobs for thousands of people, (not just at ESPN……).
    I don’t think the network is going to be releasing this statement anytime soon, “ESPN would like to apologize to Mike Florio and the staff at PFT.com for plagiarizing your article on Tom Brady and Joey Porter’ claims. Your story was so damn good, we couldn’t think of a way to put into our own words and we are just too damn LAZY to take 5 minutes to introduce the quotes from NFL Network in our own words. Your site is much better written and is more thorough. We would like to apologize”
    We would all be devestated if somehow ESPN no longer existed. Admit it…..
    Rob Adamson
    No affliation whatsoever with ESPN.

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