The internet is a massive opportunity for aspiring writers. Publishing as a freelancer has never been easier thanks to the number of sites willing to pay for good, unique content and that means there’s a lot more interesting and informative content for you, as a reader, to enjoy. Everyone wins!
The downside of this, of course, is that it’s also easy for someone who is lazy and dishonest to simply cut and paste content and rebrand it as their own. It happens all the time with popular websites and many have legal teams on hand to deal with this when it arises. The thing is, you need to catch it.
For the rest of us, we can make a decent career out of writing, but how do you get started? That temptation to take other peoples work can be pretty strong, just ask Terrell Mims. In fact, if you pay him, he’ll help you do it too. See, Terrell Mims runs an Online Writing Workshop! Oh man! And since his site is full of stolen content that has already proved to be immensely popular on websites like Cracked.com, you know he has an eye for good content.
UPDATE: One day after this article went live we found no less than 6 more articles Terrell had stolen from other sites.
UPDATE 2: After that number jumped to over 20 articles, Terrell switched his Twitter to private, deleted a number of entries on his blog and has since added a link on many of the remaining posts, showing where his info came from. So rather than directly plagiarizing, Terrell has opted to simply engage in copyright infringement.
Here’s an article Terrell posted on movie plots that could have been solved in minutes;
Let’s look at three things here;
1- The date. Terrell posted this on April 29, 2011
2- The Photo. The caption might look familiar to you. Also, you can’t tell, but that image is actually hotlinked right to Cracked. Terrell isn’t just a thief, he’s a lazy one.
3- The Final Line. That’s Terrell taking ownership, like he wrote this and wants you to add to his witty insights
But this here is from Cracked. Frm August 2010. From writer Jacapo della Quercia
8,000 Facebook likes? Not bad. Hit big on Digg too. Same caption, same photo, almost a year earlier? Oh, Terrell, you so sleazy.
You may be thinking “big deal, he stole one article. It was only one, right?” Not so fast!
This is another one from Cracked;
This is 9 Famous Movie Villains who were Right All Along. January of this year and all that. Super popular too, look at those views. Only an idiot would steal something that nearly 6 million people have already read. Terrell Mims is your idiot.
See here, Terrell posted this in May. He even added his own intro paragraph about how his last article was so popular he decided to continue to explore the truth of movie villains. Wow, what an arrogant dick thing to say when you’re stealing content. Then, you’ll notice, the next paragraph is exactly lifted from Cracked.
In order to appear like not a thief, Terrell even shook up the order of the list. Cracked’s list started with the principal from Ferris Bueller’s Day off, Terrell’s starts with the hyenas from lion King. Of course, Cracked also covers them, just later. And, once again, Terrell hotlinked the images so if you “view image” you’ll go right to where the pics are hosted on Cracked.com
Yesterday it was brought to Terrell’s attention that maybe he shouldn’t be posting stuff from other sites and calling it his own. How did Terrell respond? Write this down, you’ll need it if you too want to steal content;
1- Terrell turned on comment moderation on his site, so no one can post a comment until he OK’s it
2- Terrell deleted all his purloined content from the front page. Anything not on the front page is still there
3- Terrell blocked Holy Taco on Twitter after we asked him about his penchant for writing the exact same, word for word articles as a much more popular website and if he thought it was still OK to charge people money for a writers workshop.
All totaled, it looks like Terrell had maybe a half dozen Cracked articles or more. Half have been deleted. But not all. Lucky for us, Google keeps stuff in its cache, so if someone were to try to deny they plagiarized an article, you can still look it up and screen cap it like this;
This was stolen from Cracked here. He also took this;
The best part about this was that he punked it not from an article, but basically transcribed a Cracked After Hours video to get this, including the joke first entry of Zack Morris having the best power ever.
That’s all Cracked stuff but there’s still a ton of content on his site. Surely that’s all his own, right? Hmm…
This here is from About.com, a page run by adult educator Deb Peterson who teaches creative Writing. She has a whole segment on About about the ‘Hero’s Journey.” Interetsing, Terrell covers the exact same subject, with the same sub headings. Of course,both claim to be using a book by aman named Christopher Vogler as their source material, so there’s reason it could be similar, right? Well, let’s read Deb’s.
Now let’s see how Terrell took his lesson from the same source material;
Good job, Terrell! You added in a paragraph about the Matrix and Star Wars that may actually be your own. No wonder you run a workshop.
Terrell also has an entire section on mythology. Let’s pick a random page because it has Justin Bieber in the name;
Once again, Terrell gives us his own intro paragraph. But where did the rest come from? You can find it here, here or here. Who knows where else.
You may be wondering why Holy Taco has such a vengeful hate on for Terrell Mims, and it’s because of this – Terrell Mims is a plagiarist. A fraudulent thief who profits off of the hard work of others. Worse, he fronts as someone who has a love of writing, and expertise in the craft and then has the unmitigated gall to attempt to charge people to benefit from his wisdom. It’s like a man stealing the bread from your kitchen then offering to teach you how to bake your own for a fee. And he’s an arrogant son of a bitch. See here;
Jesus, I hope you already know the definition of irony, Terrell. If not, look it up. A better writer probably wrote about it already.