the little essay that keeps getting borrowed.

I really dislike people who write guest columns that use someone else’s material, especially when that material came out of my head, not theirs.

One Mr. James W. King wrote a guest column for the Albany Herald. I use the loosest possible definition of the word “wrote”, because for his column, Mr. King limited his writing work to copying and pasting my “Why the Gun is Civilization” essay. This is not just unoriginal, it’s dishonest, and thievery to boot.

The Albany Herald didn’t ask for permission to use the essay. Neither did Mr. King. I don’t usually get all hot under the collar when “Major Caudill” gets quoted on some Internet forum, but the most cursory Google search by the editor would have turned up the proper authorship. I am thinking about sending my very first DMCA take-down notice.

(UPDATE: The link is dead now. May have something to do with all those emails the editor has been getting.)

17 thoughts on “the little essay that keeps getting borrowed.

  1. In the Herald‘s defense, they probably didn’t ask for permission because they had no idea it wasn’t original work…

    • (By which I mean, they expect guest editorials to be novel work.

      I doubt they have a habit of checking them against a search engine to see if they’re just ripped off the internet… though I suppose they might start doing that now.)

  2. Dear Marko,

    Your rant about the Albany Herald encouraged me to read the essay (on your web site), and I throughly enjoyed it, and I agree with it.

    However, your first paragraph led me to wonder about your upbringing. Are you an orphan? I only ask because anyone with a mother *knows* that there is a third way of getting someone to do what you want them to do: guilt.



  3. Hi Marko,

    I can remember first reading your essay and asking if I could copy it and use it with credit to you as its author.

    I do hope you can get some remuneration from illegitimate use.

  4. I found you easily from a ‘Major Caudill’ accredited article, and enjoy your blog, but most people don’t bother. If you have the means, sue, whatever he got paid, and then some, is yours. The more people that know the true author, the more fans you will have. That could spill over into your other works. I regularly tell friends to read your essay, on your own website, of course.

  5. That Major Caudil bit is too well known to have lasted long in a situation like that.

    The Herald might enjoy hearing from the original author, could generate some revenue for you. (Depending on what they hear, anyway) They obviously liked your work well enough to publish it in the first place.

  6. I wonder if A Girl and Her Gun will be the next to have a piece “borrowed.” Her recent essay about “I Have Worth” presents the other side of Marko’s argument: that to say people should not defend themselves is to say that no one has as much right to live as a criminal does.

  7. Send the take-down notice!
    I love that essay, but I always provided a link to back to your work when I quote it.

  8. I’ve often thought your essay would be an excellent starting point for a Master’s dissertation; the development of the personal firearm could be shown to have had profound effects on civil rights–women’s suffrage in particular. Since a M.A is not in my future, I won’t be writing it, but for any of you sociology/history-minded academics out there, you’re welcome to run with it

  9. Maybe you should buy the domain, net, and org, and point it to your rant on plagiarists on this blog?

  10. “James W. King” appears to be this guy. He’s an antique gun dealer and neo-Confederate blowhard (“Commander” of Camp 141 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans).

    If it was me, I’d contact the Herald and demand that they run a paragraph on their op-ed page stating that the essay published by James W. King was in fact written by someone else (you) and plagiarized.

    Embarass the creep. He’s had several essays or letters published in the Herald just this year. I wonder how many others were plagiarized too.