Welcome everyone Sandra in Spain - FlamencoI’m Sandra Piddock, and I’m a freelance writer, dividing my time between Spain and the UK. I’ll write about anything that interests and/or challenges me, and I like to focus on the lighter side of life whenever possible.. Read more
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Orangegate: Plagiarism scandal rocks Algorfa

The orange groves of Algorfa – now teleported to Gran Alacant thanks to the wonders of plagiarism and Orangegate

Have you noticed every 20 years or so there’s a major scandal? In the 1970s it was Watergate and Richard Nixon, in the 1990s it was Squidgygate and the Princess of Wales, and now, barely into 2017 I give you – Orangegate and Sandra in Spain. Okay, the implications are not so wide ranging, and the players are not so well known, but it’s a scandal, and everyone in the writing world has been affected by it at some time or other.

Since the arrival of the Internet, it’s much easier to get published, but it’s also much easier for unscrupulous websites to trawl around blogs and magazines and publish stuff without paying the original authors. Around two years ago, I agreed to write a regular Around Algorfa column for All Abroad magazine, without payment, as a favour to a friend and to help publicise events in my home village. Now a new company  based in Gran Alacant  -owns the magazine, and they have chosen to publish my article, without my permission, without my name on it, and without a back link to my website.

However, the implications are much wider than mere plagiarism here. The article mentions my dog Paddy by name, and walking in the orange groves. Now not only has Paddy got to cope with Mummy’s name change – according to the All Abroad website, the author is now Webmaster, not Sandra in Spain – he’s also a displaced person, moved to Gran Alacant, where as far as I know, there are no orange groves. Not only is Paddy robbed of his bunny chasing activities and the wide choice of trees to decorate, it’s a long walk from Gran Alacant back to Algorfa, so at a stroke his young life has been turned upside down.

On a more serious note, it takes a while to craft an article worthy of publication – which this obviously is, since it’s featured on the All Abroad front page. Then there’s the matter of images and copyright, which rests with the author unless otherwise agreed. The new website is pretty flashy, but I get the idea that all the chairs aren’t safely under the table at All Abroad HQ, since a lot of people – including myself – have commented that the author should be credited for the article, yet the silence from them is deafening, and there has been no response to me emails to the head honcho.

To paraphrase Ali G, I have to wonder ‘Is it because I’s a woman?’ because a fellow – male – writer only had to rattle his sabre a little bit. Immediately his article – also used without permission and back link, although at least his name was on it – was removed and an apology of sorts was made. Personally I think they’re not sorry that they ripped off quality content without paying for it – they’re just sorry they were caught doing it.

Ah well, that’s got that out of my system. I shall be keeping an eye on the website to make sure no other material of mine appears. I’m a respected, professional writer, and I’m not used to dealing with the kind of amateurs who would do such a thing and imagine they can get away with it. If Orangegate acts as some sort of lesson to the people involved at All Abroad, at least some good has come out of it, but I’m not holding my breath.

Update: My article was taken down 48 hours after I originally contacted the website. However, there has been no attempt at apology, privately or publicly. Like I said – amateurs, and dishonest amateurs who refuse to take responsibility for their actions at that.

10 Responses to Orangegate: Plagiarism scandal rocks Algorfa

  • Clive Gray says:

    Sadly, it’s not just this bunch that nick other peoples articles wholesale. Just take a look at the English press in Spain, it’s rife with plagiarism.

  • Darren James says:

    As someone that has been aware of much of this going on in recent years, I can sympathise.

    Whenever I used to write news stories (and I emphasise the word news) for the publications I was involved with locally I tried as far as possible to fill those stories with attributable quotes to tell those stories rather than use others words. There is a massive difference between how factual news is reported – you can only use a certain number of words – and claiming an entire columnists article written by someone else as their own which I’ve noticed from time to time in certain publications and with common denominator authors too.

    I have no problem in supporting and agreeing with Sandra’s phrase of dealing with amateurs in the world of local media.

  • Karl says:

    So sad to read this, You are a respected writer and this is theft pure and simple. To my mind sadly there are many people that use other people’s skill and money to further their own ends here in Spain and claim to own or have things that they do not have so that they can seem to be important !!

    • Tell me about it Karl. This is another instance of somebody taking the credit for somebody else’s talent. I will do anything for anybody – often for free – but no way will I sit back and let this situation continue. Still, at least I had fun writing this, and a lot of readers and writers have rallied to my support, so it’s not all bad news. I know who my real friends are.

  • Heather says:

    You get em Sandra,
    As you say it’s absolute theft and poor paddy, it’s very confusing for him, he need some compensation, a big juicy bone would not go amiss!
    No 1 fan here to support you!

  • Brian McLean says:

    Not only have Sandra”s mails gone unanswered. Mine have also met with silence from the tea leaves running the show at All Abroad.
    One wonders how a slimy little worm can simply steal somebody”s hard work and feel that there is no need to even offer an explanation.
    What a load of fans of Onan!

    • One good thing to come out of this is to see how much support I’ve had, some from unexpected sources, although I know you will always stand up for the right thing for writers. The new owners of All Abroad are going to have to go some to repair the collateral damage. Thanks for being my champion honey. It’s appreciated. x