Mean People Suck. Don't Be a Mean Person.

As a teenager, a bumper sticker on my sister’s neon green Geo Prism read in all caps, “MEAN PEOPLE SUCK.”

I was reminded of her cheeky bumper sticker a few weeks ago when a mean person did a really sucky thing to me.

A fellow licensed private investigator plagiarized at least two of my pieces of work, word-for-word, claiming them as his own. Fourteen pages of my own time and effort being used to market another private investigator’s business, enticing fellow private investigators to hire him for all of their social media investigation needs.

Nice. Real nice.

To add insult to injury, he denied the plagiarism and shifted the blame to a third party freelancer. But when I asked for proof of his interactions with this freelancer, he immediately clammed up and called his attorney, but not before educating me on the ins and outs of copyright, trying his darnedest to deter me from pursuing anything against him.

I was floored at first that a colleague in a rather tightly-knit profession would so brazenly use my content in such an overt manner. He not only didn’t get my permission to use it, but he claimed to have created the content himself by simply erasing my name and replacing it with his own.

After the initial shock wore off, my fury turned instead to disappointment. I am just so disappointed that a licensed private investigator who stresses the value of professionalism and who holds an anti-fraud certification would behave in such an unprofessional manner in defrauding me of my authorship.

Unfortunately, this happens all the time, especially with the convenience and ease the Internet provides to deceptive and lazy people who are always looking for ways to cut corners and avoid the hard work it takes to achieve anything worth achieving.

The world has enough slackers who shirk responsibilities and coast along on the backs of those of us who work hard and hold to our ethics and morals.

Don’t be that guy.

Besides, your mother really wouldn’t approve.

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