Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Plagiarized by the Greek Consulate General

A few days ago, I found one of my articles used word-for-word on another website without permission and attribution to me as the person who researched, translated and wrote it. This is not the first time I’ve been plagiarized, and I know it won’t be the last; but it’s the first time I’ve plagiarized by a Consulate General of Greece.

That’s right — a diplomatic mission from Greece, representing Greece abroad.

Should they deny it, I can prove it belongs to me, I have screen captures with their URL and told a few people to verify what I’m stating as the truth if I’m ever accused of lying. I cannot say what country it is, but thankfully it is not my own. I also cannot say I am surprised, but I am disappointed and sickened.

What would you do?

a) Write them a professional letter and ask them to give me credit or remove it, followed by a letter from a lawyer if they don’t.

b) Write them a nasty letter and demand they remove it.

c) Name and shame them and cc: a popular newspaper in their city and country.

d) A combination of the above.

e) Ignore it.

As I lean heavily toward option ‘A,’ I’m reminded of a Slate magazine article, “Eight reasons plagiarism sucks.”


  Peter wrote @ May 3rd, 2008 at 12:06

Start with the niceties and then increase the pressure. Diplomats are all about appearences, status and embarrassment does not go down well with them.

Also, if you can find their ISP..a complaint to them could also throw their site in jeopardy.

  luc wrote @ May 3rd, 2008 at 12:33

Wow! A Consulate General of Greece no less! That sucks even more! I would still go for option A as the first step. If that doesn’t result in a take down of the article or proper attribution (whichever you request in that letter), I personally would not bother with a lawyer, but would go straight to step C (and I will do my best to help you, for what that is worth, in the shaming department). Option E is not an option at all imho.

On the bright side — but notwithstanding the above — nothing I’ve never written has ever been considered worthwhile copying verbatim or otherwise, so you can take it as a compliment as well, a recognition of your outstanding work 😉

Go after them, Kat!

  Jessica wrote @ May 3rd, 2008 at 13:00

Definitely start with A and move down the list if needed. Don’t ignore it though, it is your work and you deserve the credit. I can’t believe that happened! I usually find my stuff on splogs, not a consulate website! Go you!

  EllasDevil wrote @ May 3rd, 2008 at 13:15

I’ve seen the article in question, and it’s annoying because you put a lot of hard work into it and research, and all they’ve done is just copy and paste except they must have forgotten to thank you for your hard work.

Well I’ve done research on the matter and managed to find some input from Sir Humphrey and the Prime Minster (from BBC’s Yes Prime Minister)

So Kat, it seems that we have the usual six options:
1. Do nothing.
2. Issue a statement deploring their plagiarism.
3. Lodge an official protest.
4. Cut off aid.
5. Break off diplomatic relations and
6. Declare war.

Which should it be I hear you ask…. well…
1. Well if we do nothing, we implicitly agree with the plagiarism.
2. If we issue a statement, we’ll just look foolish.
3. If we lodge an official protest, it’ll be ignored.
4. We can’t cut off aid because we don’t give them any.
5. If we break off diplomatic relations, we can’t negotiate and
6. If we declare war, it might just look as if we were over-reacting.

But in all seriousness Kat, I think you do need to make contact with them and point out that they’ve stolen content from your site and not given any credit. Until this matter is resolved then you can rest assured I’m boycotting the said country!

  tsevdos wrote @ May 3rd, 2008 at 16:01

Try to convince them with option a, although I believe you are just going to waste your time…

  dubaibilly wrote @ May 3rd, 2008 at 17:15

That is simply outrageous! I think your only real option is option A. I’m not sure it matters which country this Consulate is based in because they are representing the Greek Government. It is therefore Greece that should be embarrassed, not the country that hosts the consulate.



  susan2009 wrote @ May 3rd, 2008 at 17:27

Hi, I am usually a lurker, but I just read this article on what to do when someone steals your content. It is by Lorelle on WordPress. Here is the link.

BTW – Even though I live in California and will probably never make it to Greece (as an employee or on holiday), I like reading your stuff. It makes me think I could go. 🙂

Good luck.

  rositta wrote @ May 3rd, 2008 at 18:21

I guess I’d go option a followed by all of the above. Sucks when shit happens and it’s not fair to you and all your hard work…ciao

  phillip wrote @ May 3rd, 2008 at 23:33

whoa, i gasped, thinking i hope it’s not the one in san francisco, or the one in houston where a friend of mine works. i vote option a, for sure. hopefully it will have an amicable resolve.

  melusina wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 00:45

Well, you should probably start with (a) although I’d tend towards (b) myself because I’m just not a nice person. You definitely shouldn’t ignore it, though. Plagiarism pisses me off on so many levels.

  FMS wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 01:14

My advice is to write a very polite letter to the Consul. You should perhaps say that you are flattered that they found your efforts of value, but obviously someone has neglected to state the source of the information (namely, this site).

I do not know what their reaction will be, but you should send it registered to the Consul and copy to the Ambassador.

  Kat wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 07:01

P – Thanks for yr support and suggestion about looking up the ISP.

L – I don’t think we should measure the quality of our work by who plagiarizes us. i.e. You write some great stuff that is worthy of wider attention, and that’s why I’ve tuned in and even waited for you to come back after an absence. I appreciate your offer to participate in option C. We’ll see what happens. I want to keep it professional.

J – It’s been fun having you over here and commenting lately. I’m splogged too, in addition to being plagiarized by legit sites. Shameful and disappointing. I’d rather it not happen at all!

ED – Thanks for verifying what I’m stating, in addition to your contribution. I don’t think you can boycott the said country, however, since you live in it.

T – I understand what you mean.

DB – You’re right. At the heart beats Hellas.

S – Hi Susan! Thanks for delurking to come out and show me that link. Funny thing is, I read that a long time ago when I was first plagiarized maybe a year ago, so it’s good to be reminded. I also appreciate you tuning in and following my misadventures, even if you have no interest in moving here. Please know though, it’s not a bad place to visit if you have any interest. You should go!

R – It does suck. 😉 I spent hours transliterating Greek to English, then wrote a short intro based on what I knew and experienced over 10 years…and all they did was cut and paste like ED said.

P – It’s a Consulate General (and a rather large one), not a Greek Embassy. Plus, thankfully it’s not in our country.

M – I disagree. I think you’re a lot nicer person than me. Plagiarism angers me, namely because: a) it denigrates legitimate people, b) is the ultimate form of laziness, and c) it’s skeezy.

FMS – Very sound advice. I appreciate you being a voice of reason and approaching this professionally as I want to.

  sifis wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 10:48

Are you sure you did not plagiarize the Greek ministry article?
What copyrights do you have?
Who published the article first can you prove it?
Wordpress is a free blog service and everybody copy articles without asking nobody who is telling us you don’t do the same?
Finaly accusing a Greek ministry is a bit too much who do you thing you are that Mr Braiza or what ever is his name that interfere as a prick in to the Greek Russian agreement?
If you have problems with Greece why don’t you go back to America.

  Kat wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 11:33

The answers to your questions are:
1) Yes, I can prove that I wrote the article. I wouldn’t make statements like that if I couldn’t. Further, the Consulate General couldn’t have written the article because: a) they have no actual knowledge of information I included and didn’t bother to customize it to the country they’re in; b) they would have known to update it last year as I have, and they didn’t; c) the quality of English, grammar and punctuation of my article doesn’t match others on their site, making it clear they didn’t write it.
2) My copyright exists in the USA, which is where this site is registered. My personal copyright starts as soon as my words are published. I could quote some media and ethics laws for you, but I doubt you’d care.
3) I published the article in May 2007, I can prove it, and the Consulate General’s appeared after that. Anyone who knows my writing style will recognize the work as mine.
4) Just because WordPress is a free hosting service, it doesn’t diminish the quality of anything I wrote. It’s that kind of mindset that I’m sure led the Consulate General to steal from me in the first place: a) Oh, she won’t find out, she’s not Greek, she’s nobody; b) it’s just a minor website/blog, it’s OK to just take whatever I want (such as the mentality among some in GR); c) I’m sure you didn’t notice, but I attribute credit where due on every article I write and list my sources.
5) It’s not an accusation. It’s a statement of injustice based on facts.
6) Is that what you do when you have problems, you run away or get your parents to fix it for you? That’s not what I do. I have no problem with Greece; it’s Greece that has and makes problems for me. I’ve been a good little immigrant, all I want is to be left alone.

Last I checked, there are challenges everywhere in the world, and I’m free to live where I want. Greece has been my home for more than 10 years, and I’m a legal EU resident. If you have problems with me, you’re free to consult a psychologist and stop reading my site on a daily basis. But really, you should beg me to stay since my fiance and I are pouring money into your precious country and funding your IKA retirement.

🙂 Love and happiness to you!

  betabug wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 12:23

I guess like so many people, some employee there was unaware that there is something like copyright law.

As for the lawyer, keep in mind that they have diplomatic immunity – they can laugh in any lawyers face. I’ve read a couple reports that a lot of embassies and consulates from less respectable countries often leave bills unpaid, ignore employee rights, etc., as nobody can touch them anyway.

Option A, I’d say, followed by option C if that doesn’t help.

Oh, and ignore the troll, he’s not worth the clicking sound of your keyboard.

  Kat wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 15:17

Thanks B – You make a good point about immunity, and I’ve amended my original text accordingly.

I can understand people who doubt me, especially since they don’t know who I am, what profession I do and who I work for. Many people (mostly Greeks) may also wonder how it is that I know so much about practicalities in Greece (permits, visas, etc.), when they themselves don’t — that’s easy to explain since I’m a non-EU citizen who has done it all myself, not handed it to a lawyer or my parents. I don’t have to steal information from ministry websites (which are wrong anyway) because I’ve lived it, taken notes and have documentation in my hand.

But it’s also telling when someone thinks a certain way, don’t you think? i.e. People who call others a liar usually have intimate knowledge of lying. People who distrust others are themselves not worthy of trust.

My friend DN told me that some bloggers steal and make up stories in order to get hits or attention. That’s sad. It never occurred to me to do this because I simply don’t have time for that kind of bull. But legitimate, ethical people like you, me and many others who left a comment unfortunately bear the crosses and sins of others who do.

  fotis wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 18:11

unfortunately, i agree with tsevdos and feel nothing will change, but listen to why i think this. dubaibilly is right, is greeks. the greek consulate general is the greek government of greece with greeks from here working there. so no matter what country, is still greece screwing you. doesnt that get tiring? another thing is they will ignore you, deny it or blame someone (even you). you know what im talking about. im greek and proud of it, but i think that maybe there is some out there who are lasy and cheat to avoid works so they just take whithout thinking. i dont know you or what article it is but is very easy for me to believe someone stoled from you. i see it everyday the corruption, the lies, the scandels. the proofs is in my face. anywyas i hope is a good result in the end.

you should get away from here, not because i tell you what to do or i dont want you here. but for your own life to be better somewhere else. see u

  Paul wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 19:07

Hi Kat,

I’m just delurking to say how much I sympathise with you. The fact is, though, that many (otherwise) educated people in Greece truly do not understand the concept of intellectual property and plagiarism. I reckon that FMS’s approach is probably the best, but be prepared to write a follow-up letter politely explaining why it is wrong to steal!

  FMS wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 22:26

If nothing changes in Greece, it is predominantly because the Greek people are too [lazy/stupid/apathetic/ignorant/egotistical — delete as appropriate] to call their own government and politicians to be accountable. Most educated people in Greece are totally bored with these futile protests and demonstrations, most of which are either trivial or nationalistic in origin.

The most hilarious thing is that when educated foreigners try to help out, and suggest ways to make Greece a less shitty place, they are told that they should leave. There’s no help for brain-damaged or indoctrinated people, it seems. So, my advice to you Greeks is to stop complaining, stop the strikes, and just suffer quietly. You are responsible for the mess in Greece.

  Στάθης wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 22:32

a then wait 10 days and do c.
If we do nothing then nothing will change! We must act…


  maria v wrote @ May 4th, 2008 at 22:36

and I’m all with you kat, in your response to sifis who stated you should return to your country – i wonder what would happen if people who are living in Greece and were not born here all returned to their own country – for a start, the olives and oranges would remain unpicked in Crete, and construction costs would rise, because there’d be no cheap labour to do all these jobs; in other words, greece will revert to its 1960s state, and then greeks will have to leave THEIR country in search of work in OTHER countries, like my parents did… i have a new post about that:

  The Scorpion wrote @ May 5th, 2008 at 00:56

Kat, I find it quite funny that Greeks don’t know enough about their own country that they need to copy an American’s work. Well, I believe they won’t acknowledge you so I’d go with the Newspaper article in the country where it was printed.

Also, to Betabug: Actually, diplomatic immunity is only for criminal liability and not civil. Civil judgements still have to be paid… But, then of course, when you don’t pay, they can’t arrest you so it’s a vicious circle ( catch-22). (like traffic tickets)

  thundera wrote @ May 5th, 2008 at 02:35

My choice would be A)Write them a professional letter and ask them to give me credit or remove it, followed by a letter from a lawyer if they don’t. …or both together…. Good Luck with whatever you choose to do!

  KT wrote @ May 5th, 2008 at 03:13

As far as the Greek consulate stealing your work, that does not suprise me at all, it actually makes me feel better about the decision I made in returning back to the States. If I was in you, I would pick option C, they deserve it..

  GANIG wrote @ May 5th, 2008 at 13:46

Expressing views of this type can make you a hero in the eyes of some poor foreigners that their lack of speaking our language has forced them to remain ignorant on what is happenng on the Greek side but it will definitely earn you the ignorant American award.

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