By far the most popular post on my blog, is one I wrote in February 2013 entitled, ‘How to be Czech in 10 easy steps‘. As I explained in a follow up post last month, ‘How to be Czech in 10 easy steps – revisited‘, the original post almost immediately went viral resulting in the blog getting 2,040 visits, the day after it was published. And as explained in that follow-up post, there was another major surge of interest in the first half of December 2013.
But all of this pales into insignificance in the light of what has happened in the last few days. The reason – an online Czech tabloid ‘newspaper’ Prásk!, has published in Czech, a completely plagiarised version of ‘How to be Czech in 10 easy steps’. To see it, follow this link .
It is one the worst examples of tabloid journalism I have seen in a very long time. The headline reads in translation, ‘Shocking instructions from an American website: Ten Steps on how to become Czech’. I presume that, purely because my blog has a dot com domain, the ‘journalist’ has immediately assumed that the author is American and the website is based in the United States. Wrong – the author is British and has lived in Prague for over five years. Incidentally, I do have great difficulty calling the creator of this article a ‘journalist’ – his activities are a complete denigration of an important profession.
What follows is a completely plagiarised version of my blog post. In places, what I wrote has been abbreviated. In other places, in particular under point seven, there are additions which are not part of my original text. Nowhere is there any acknowledgement of the source of the original article.
The article is illustrated with five photographs. Three of them are from microstock sites to whom I assume, the publishers have paid for the rights to use them. However, the other two photographs have been pulled directly from my blog post. One of them, the photograph of the lady in skin tight black jeans and knee-high white boots with serious heels, is from a free image site. It was found by Sybille for me to use, hence it appears in my blog without acknowledgement. But the other, of various pairs of shoes outside a door, is my own photograph and appears on my blog as © Ricky Yates. Yet, in total breach of the law of copyright, the publishers of Prásk! have decided they can use it without permission or acknowledgement.
Prásk! is published by the same media company who own TV Nova, a major commercial television channel here in the Czech Republic. Imagine that I made a video of one of their popular programmes, put it on DVD and started marketing and selling pirated copies. Their lawyers would be down on me like ton of bricks in no time at all. Please note CET 21 spol. s r.o., who claim copyright to the whole of the prask.nova.cz website, including the plagiarised version of my blog post, the law of copyright, also applies to you!
I am extremely grateful to Igor, someone who I do not know, who kindly left a comment on my blog late last Thursday evening, alerting me to the plagiarised version of of my blog post that had been published by Prásk!. He asked, ‘Did you give them permission?’ followed by a smiley. I think he already knew the answer! Thank you again Igor!
Fortunately, the publishers of Prásk!, allow people to leave comments. Within an hour of publication, one person had already left a link to my original blog post. Several others had also pointed out that I was British and not American and that I lived in Prague. Of course there were others who took no notice of this information and instead left rude comments about Americans.
Very late on last Thursday evening, I left the following comment.
‘As several commenters have already pointed out, the original article can be found here http://rickyyates.com/how-to-be-czech-in-10-easy-steps/ & I am the author. This is a shortened & plagiarised version of it. Clearly prask.nova.cz have not heard of the word ‘copyright’. In particular, the photograph of shoes before the door is my photograph which I have not given permission to be used. prask.nova.cz could also spend a few minutes doing a little research – I am British, NOT American, & have l lived in the Czech Republic for over five years. However, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’.
I am pleased to say that this comment, despite being written in English, rather than Czech, at the time of writing, has received 48 ‘likes’.
But the most amazing outcome of this act of plagiarism, has been the impact on visitor numbers to my blog. On Thursday 23rd January, the day the Prásk! article was published, this blog had 5,272 visitors. On Friday 24th January, it was 8,695 visitors, more than four times the previous highest total of 2,040. Today, as it is just approaching midnight, the total has passed 4,000. I suspect that this proves the old saying that, ‘All publicity is good publicity’.
Likewise, ‘How to be Czech in 10 easy steps’, now has over 6,400 ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ on Facebook and has been ‘tweeted’, forty-seven times. As Sybille keeps reminding me, I need to get on and finish writing my book, ‘How to be Czech’, ASAP! It seems that plenty of people will want to buy it.
In the meantime, whilst I cannot afford a copyright lawyer, via this post and in any other ways possible, I shall seek to embarrass the publishers of Prásk!, their ‘journalist’ who does not even give his name but only his initials ‘pul’, and the management of TV Nova and the media company CET 21 spol. s r.o.. As another of my commenters has remarked, ‘The behaviour of Prásk! tabloid is unacceptable and repugnant. I concur!