Theft, er, borrowing

Think your words and ideas are being ripped off? I admit I was a bit taken aback to see my own words on the website of a certain well-known seminary. (No names; two guesses.) Sometimes misunderstandings occur; other times the thieving rats need to own up to their “borrowing.” In particular, sermon plagarism is a problem that can be addressed technologically.

See James Archer’s article, “Find Content Stealing Weasels with Copyscape.”
which promotes the new (?) Copyscape service and gives a poignant example of what he found.

Put positively, it is a good way to see who quotes things one believes. Take this ministry with a detailed statement of faith that incorporates the Winchester Profession verbatim.

Of course, there’s not the least bit of irony that Copyscape’s interface is a dead ringer for Google.


By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. But just so you know, you do get personal acknowledgement in the reader for the UU History course at that same seminary (even if we read Cassara, Robinson, Hughes and Howe) and I believe the exact expression in class was something like “the Caleb Rich of Universalism on the web.”

    Here is the line from the course reader:
    “THanks to Scott Wells for his pioneering work in putting Universalist materials on the web. We might say he’s the “John Murray” of Web Univeraslism (or should we say the “Caleb Rich”)”

  2. It is gratifying to hear this — and hear it for the first time. I’ve not heard one word from the school in question, and even now there isn’t a single link to any of my sites from its Universalism site.

    In this context, you can see why seeing my own words — largely in the form of introductions, but also the effort of typing, down to the typos — on that site.

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