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.
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.