Open letter to the journalist that stole my content


My content has been stolen. Someone took the Spanish version of 5 reasons working on ships is not glamorous, my most shared article, and published on 3 different websites! Some of you might not understand why I’m so frustrated and upset. You might not see it as a big thing. But I hope you read the full article to understand why is a bad thing to steal somebody’s content.

On Friday, January 29th, 2016, I received an email from a reader that had found a Spanish article about the disadvantages of working onboard a ship that looks very similar to the Spanish version of my post . (I will not copy the link, because I don’t want to give her more traffic). The comparison between just one paragraph of the original and the copy is in the Spanish version of this article.

There are a lot of articles that look pretty much the same. In travel blogs, we can read similar posts like 10 best things to do in Berlin, and it’s ok, we get it, it’s a coincidence. But this person took my article and basically made a summary of it, using exactly the same sentences and following the same written structure. 

Now, why does it bother me so much? There is a lot of work behind this blog, like in most blogs, of course. I don’t get paid for it, but still, I enjoy it like nothing else. I work on cruise ships to travel and to get this blog going. Originally I wrote this article in English, based in my own experience onboard and two days later I published the Spanish version. Actually, this is my most shared article ever.

The website that copied my article is a travel site, with a lot of ads, where they also provide a service selling cruises. They are making money with it and they chose to steal a blogger’s content? I first went from anger to surprise, and then, anger again. I was very upset, so my first reaction was to write something in the comment section of the article.

Then, I sent her a private message through the contact form.  Then I saw the author’s profile. And this is what made me really upset: Mrs. Lopez is a journalist with experience, so she cannot argue that she didn’t know that she was stealing somebody else’s content. Mrs. Lopez chose to ignore me. So I chose to write this article.

If you, Mrs. Lopez, don’t know how life on board a cruise ship is, I suggest you to ask, to read other people’s testimonies and make your own conclusions. I suggest you to contact somebody that have worked on board a cruise ship and interview him or her.  You could even contact me and I would gladly tell you my experience. But don’t pretend that you can take MY EXPERIENCE and write it as yours.

Your actions offend me, my profession, and my job as a blogger, and you forget two basic principles of good journalism: to attribute the information to its rightful author and the obligation to show respect to your readers and not lie to them. Have you done this before?

There is something known as online reputation and stealing my content and using it for more than 10 months doesn’t benefit either of us. And since you use Google AdSense on your website you should know that duplicating —actually you use the same article in three different websites— is penalized by Google. Just a few days ago I wrote a post about travel blogs these days — just in Spanish for now—, a personal thought about how some bloggers choose to copy content intent of creating it, but I think that a professional that KNOWS that she is stealing content is way too much to take.

I deeply appreciate the travel bloggers community and Chilean journalist’s advice and I please ask you to share this post with the hashtag #dontstealmycontent. It’s time to defend ourselves and our content.

[Mrs. López gave me an apology. I decided to remove the link to her LinkedIn account. Anyway, the only action she did was to modified her article, so it was less obvious that she copied it from my blog. There are still two websites displaying my text with her name. MeanwhileActualidad Blog denied giving an open apology. But they did complain because this article was featured in Mené, uploaded by a Spanish journalist who thought this was unacceptable.

Even though they committed a FELONY recognized by Spanish law, they told me not to write anything about a person of their team. It was more like a threat. In this case, pride was more powerful than an open apology.

Read more about life onboard cruiseships.

Algunos de los enlaces de esta web son afiliados de empresas y productos.


Fran Opazo

Periodista. Escribir y viajar son mis dos grandes pasiones. En este blog comparto mis experiencias, entrego datos y cuento historias.


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