Hawaii Real Estate | Hawaii Relocations | Hawaii Home Buying & Selling


PLAGIARISM….Are Those Words REALLY Yours???


The bottom line is this…IF YOU DID NOT WRITE ITDon’t copy and paste it in your blog!!! Nothing is more profound than showing the entire world...who you are. We do this by writing about our local areas, our real estate industry/profession and even about the history of our neighborhoods.

My blog contains all this and more. I AM the person behind these words and my information is true and correct...to the best of my knowledge. But, let's get back to the topic.  Did you know that copy and pasting the work of others is STEALING?

Think about the following BEFORE you hit that POST BLOG ENTRY button. 

1)    You might be able to post it IF you click the “This is not my content but I have permission to repost it” and that’s IF YOU HAVE PERMISSION!  Is it in writing? 

2)    Then you may be able to copy/paste the Original URL Content link next to it in the box.Do you REALLY want to do this?

3)    Think TWICE, Three times even if it’s even worth it to ‘ask permission’. So you get a written authorization to 'use' someone else's words, pictures etc.  Does that make it YOURS? Be sure now. DO you REALLY want to hit that button????

walking in someone else's shoes


Why would you even think about using someone else’s writing in YOUR blog?

1)   What would the consumer think if your blog looked like something they had seen somewhere else?  ….and they found that other article that you DID NOT write 

2)   What would your peers think when they google that first phrase, only to find out the entire article was someone else’s??  You really look like a ….LIAR.

3)   Why would you copy /paste someone else’s words in your blog anyway? Don’t you want to be able to tell other people (when they comment on your blog) that YOU wrote it? 

Your words will also describe who you are. The way you write will show what kind of personality you have. Your transparency will show the reader how knowledgable you really are and the information we write has to be TRUE and Correct to the best of our knowledge.  You cannot vouch for another person's writing.



Are YOU walking in someone else's shoes?

It’s the person behind the words.

WE, are the people behind out words.







Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman  is a Realtor-Associate® and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) with Century 21 Liberty Homes in Mililani, Hawaii. With a sharp understanding that a listening ear is the key to a client's needs  she serves the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) and all Hawaii Military Relocations, Hawaii Retirees, Hawaii Job Transfers and Hawaii Residents, Home Buyers and Sellers.


 © 2007-2015 Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman's

Hawaii Real Estate and Relocation Blog.

All rights reserved.





Comment balloon 51 commentsCeleste "SALLY" Cheeseman • March 11 2014 09:25AM


I hate it when people steal my content and photos.  Even worse is when a form that I created shows up on another Realtor's website. 

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) over 5 years ago

Sally, this happens to me all the time.  I have collected good $$ from agents who have done this--money that, for them, could have been spent paying a copyrighter to provide a lifetime of posts for their site!  I just don't understand that mentality...at ALL!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 5 years ago

Seems like it's ingrained in us all but there are still some people who copy paste without thinking about it.  If you really want to share the content give credit, or else refer to the article and write your own take on it.  

Posted by Kevin Mackessy, Dedicated. Qualified. Local. (Blue Olive Properties, LLC) over 5 years ago

Sally, It's a HUGE gamble to take.  With Big Brother Google just a click away, it's SO easy to search a snip of a post for an exact match somewhere else.  Why risk one's reputation?

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 5 years ago

Seriously it's just bad form.  And thanks for being my inpiration for a post on Friday.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 5 years ago

In these days of easy google searching... anyone can easily discover if your words are, indeed, yours.  This is a business that values "integrity"... what are you going to do when your viewers on the internet discover that you have none?

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) over 5 years ago

People really think the web is anonymous, when in fact it's the opposite.


Posted by Rich Pomerantz, No pressure, no nonsense, just know-how! (Wm Pitt Sotheby's International Realty) over 5 years ago

There are some content providers that allow an agent to reuse the content on a blog.  In those cases the blogger should at least check the box that it is not original content.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 5 years ago

I dont really give a big deal to people using my images in their posts - as long as it's not my company logo and that the images they use are sybndicated by Google. You know - I think it would be fine since everything we post online appears on Google after a few days.

~ but what really grinds my gears is that when people copy your posts word per word - completely unnacceptable. There are hundreds of spinning software, they could have at least used that so it wouldnt be so obvious but it still is plagiarism.

Posted by Michael Ha Elmhurst, Woodside, Maspeth (Rego Park, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Corona, Middle Village) over 5 years ago

Great advice, it can really open up a can of worms once you copy someones pictures, texts etc that has a legal team. Always better to create your own style, and grow your brand slowly then just copy. I for one wouldn't even be proud because it would not be my work.

Posted by Stefan Winter, Owner - Winter Group & Real Estate Web Tech (Real Estate in IL & NV | Owner of Real Estate Web Tech | Daily Vlogger) over 5 years ago

Sally- Google has made it easy for anyone to check.  Use your own words!

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 5 years ago

I am with you!  Blogs should be original and not just a re-churning of information.

Posted by Jeff Jensen (The Federal Savings Bank/Lending in 50 states) over 5 years ago

Sally always good to say this again for those newbies and maby oldies that just don't get the importance of writing your own posts.


Featured in BananaTude


Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) over 5 years ago

Yes, I don't even get why people would even think about posting other people's stuff.  All my content is original (unless it's reblogged and then it's stated) - Debbie

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) over 5 years ago

I don't understand that and have no use for it, everything I put put is 100% mine. Although I don't understandd who else would want to claim it.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 5 years ago

I don't see a problem with quoting someone else, as long as you give credit to that person. That is not plagiarism, nor is it stealing. In fact, most nonfiction articles and books do exactly that: they provide an expert's thoughts, or an eyewitness's report, or some other person's input, quoted and credited. I always write my own blogs, but on occasion have included some interesting facts or comments by another person...properly credited, of course!

It's perfectly okay to use brief quotes from a book, blog, newspaper article, etc., without requesting permission, if you credit the source and it does not exceed "fair use." Fair use is hard to define exactly, but the basic rule is, the smallest clip that gives the information you require, and does not cannibalize the original. In other words, if you quote two stanzas of a three-stanza poem, that is too much. If you quote two or three sentences out of a 500-word blog, that's probably fair use.

Another way to look at it is if you are taking the heart of the article or story in your quote, essentially removing any necessity for someone to read the original. Again, this is hard to define, but you should know it if you see it. If you read an article about cooking stew and use only the recipe (out of, say, 1000 words) for your blog, that's stealing even if by number of words it would be considered fair use, and even if you credit the originator--unless he or she has given you permission to use that recipe.

My thoughts here are based on a 20+ year career in publishing, where part of my duties included checking for fair use, plagiarism, etc.

Posted by Sonsie Conroy, Energetic, Enthusiastic, Knowledgeable Realtor (I serve buyers and sellers everywhere in San Luis Obispo County) over 5 years ago

     Sally, when I was a kid, my Mom was a Public School teacher.  She would sit at the dining room table grading essays... sometimes she would shake her head and say, "Encyclopedia Britannica"!   She would write a big red "F" on the paper. 

Posted by Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain, Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker (Fred Griffin Real Estate) over 5 years ago

I had a member question me recently on why their recent post did not get any points. DUH..when I checked it was NOT the writer's words. I think they got it!!

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 5 years ago



Love and light,


Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 5 years ago


This issue bears repeating over and over, since it keeps happening and writers feel that content they find on the Internet is fair game for sharing as their own.

I am no legal expert but the issue of quoting someone and then stating who wrote it could still get you in trouble, at least if someone wanted to make an issue of it. But that's only my opinion. 1 - 2 sentences would likely be fine with approprite attribution. But I think  the issue is more one of paragraphs and entire articles that get used without permission rather than a sentence or two. Sonsie makes a good point. I'd be curious about what the attorneys would have to say.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) over 5 years ago

It is so disheartening to read a well written article or blog post only to find that it has been taken from someone else. I lose all respect for the person. 

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Chartwell Kansas City Realty) over 5 years ago

I think in the end, if you stole someone else's work, there is not a single win-win situation for you out there. So why not keep it original? Be true to yourself! 

Posted by John Jonas, John Jonas (ReplaceMyself - Virtual Assistants) over 5 years ago

Sally, I saw a really well-written post that I was about to bookmark for my Sunday  post.  Then I Googled a phrase, and guess what!  

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 5 years ago


Copy and pasting of text is just as wrong as right clicking to save and reuse an image. If it's not yours...don't use it.


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 5 years ago

You write from experiences, so much easier in your own words, thoughts, event recall to hunt and peck. Post and done. Cover songs are not so much fun either as the real deal artist who penned, usually sang them from the heart with passion too.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 5 years ago

Sally, well written. One"s words reflect their true being. We must represent ourselves as above the line at all times to be trustworthy.

Posted by Kimberly Tapscott, Giving you the service you deserve! (Keller Williams Prestige Properties) over 5 years ago

Quoting a few lines with attribution is a simple "snippet".

However, when a writer "quotes" an entire article or long block of content from an original, that is plagiarism.  Attribution is no excuse for republishing someone else's content.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 5 years ago

Sally, this a good post about an important topic. If content isn't yours, don't use it. 

There is a feature on ActiveRain called ReBlogging. I think that this is somewhat of a grey area as far as copyright law. While the content and text is originally citied, a reblogger could potentially get in to a lot of trouble if the images used are single-use images. 

Posted by Jordan Gouger, Helping you to achieve your housing goals! (Keller Williams Realty Inc.) over 5 years ago

When blogging it is important to be yourself. Are you being yourself when you plagiarize someone's creation? If you are, there is a problem.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 5 years ago

"Do your own work." Teachers say this to their students every day. It applies to all of us everyday.

Posted by Jill Winchel, We make it easy. You make it home. (Royal Shell Real Estate - Koffman & Associates ) over 5 years ago

Sally, giving attribution does not mean you can use an article or a photo on another person's blog. If you didn't originallywrite it, don't use it.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 5 years ago

Definitely a defect in the human nature that is not going away soon. The jails and the courts are full of people who unsuccessfully pushed the limits on certain subjects this be one of them

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 5 years ago

I've read all your comments and as always the bottom line (that I believe) is this.... If you did not write it...it is not yours. I did not say anything about a snippet...but I suppose I should have 'clarified'.  I look at it like this. We use a snippet to quote what someone said....and then EXPOUND on it if we want a conversation. 

Is a WHOLE photo a snippet?  Half of one?  I had a loan officer here take my mls photo (with my signature on it on the bottom right)  and crop off my signature and use it in his blog (outside). I just happened upon it looking for specifics on a loan.  WOW.  

Let's all get real.  WRITE THE ARTICLE AND TAKE THE PICTURE ALL ON YOUR OWN and you get to give your own self credit.....AND.....your clients (who know the trick about taking a part of the story and googling it) won't be 'surprised' or 'disappointed' OR...the biggest...think you are just lazy for using someone else's words...and not your OWN.  


Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 5 years ago

I guess I'm having a hard believing that people really do this. Is it happening on ActiveRain? ActiveRain allows us a great option. I reblog when I see something spectacular. I can't imagine cutting and pasting someone else's writing. Why not reblog?

Posted by Dana Hollish Hill, Lead Associate Broker (Hollish Hill Group, KW Capital Properties) over 5 years ago

I hope that if this happened on AR, that you reported it, and that AR took the appropriate action.  There's simply no excuse -- ever -- for plagiarism of text or photos.

Posted by Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging, "Staging that Sells Portland Homes" (Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR) over 5 years ago

Sally, some habits die hard! Fortunately, we are always warned here - again and again to do what is right. Thanks.

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 5 years ago

Curation or syndication is a way to use someone else's works. The biggest distinction is that this information is always attributed to the original author. Active Rain allows this in their function of ReBlog!

Posted by Gerard Gilbers, Your Marketing Master (Higher Authority Markeing) over 5 years ago

Apparently this needs be said because it is a problem, which is unfortunate. I ran into the issue a couple of months ago and called to confront the person, that is the only way I know how to handle this kind of situation. It is truly impossible to see every thing that is written.

Posted by Joe Petrowsky, Your Mortgage Consultant for Life (Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709) over 5 years ago

I always hear that this is happening on AR but I haven't found any evidence of it as it pertains to my work. Unfortunately, those who do it will not be stopped with a simple warning. They already know it's wrong.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) over 5 years ago

Super blog!!  Well written. I can not agree more. Blogging should be from the individual. I would not copy and paste and claim it as mine. I would also not like to see my written words expressed on someone else's blog.  Thank you for the great post!! And it is a feature post as well.... 

Posted by Jaci Clayton, "Making Deals with Southern Appeal" (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 5 years ago

Yes, it happens here, there and everywhere online. I am hoping that ONE DAY...'they' will finally 'get it' :)

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 5 years ago

Sally:  I'm mulling over such a problem right now .. as I know the writer and I know the content/post written is not their creation.   The post has been Featured recently ... and it's like getting smacked between the eyes every time I see the post.  Let it go?  Or take action?  I still haven't decided ...


Posted by Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi, 708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience (NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656) over 5 years ago

Plagiarizing should get you thrown out. Same as in school. Called cheating. To easy to write or right your own.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) over 5 years ago

Sally-This was a constant complaint when I was first introduced to ActiveRain. Is it still a big issue? I don't read as many complaints now about plagiarism.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS®) over 5 years ago

Obviously gaining lots of feedback on this one.  Definitely wise to write your own material for your blogs and DO NOT copy anyone else's photos, written words, or anything! 

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) over 5 years ago

Good morning Sally,

You are getting some good feedback as you should on this post. Taking your own photos and writing your own material are always the most important when writing for anything..a post, an advertisement, a speech..the list goes on!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 5 years ago

Good morning Sally. I really like this and suggested it. If it is yours you know it, and if you take it from somewhere or someone else without attribution and permission you are stealing.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 5 years ago

Great article and I totally agree and how embarrassing or expensive if the person was found out. I sometimes get an idea and then do my own post with my own words and pictures.

Posted by Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor, (909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning (Sun Lakes Realty) over 5 years ago

Good evening Sally!  How true and can't agree more.  I do reprint a book of Custer County History that I have been given permission to use.  As the writer told me..."the more people that can read about our area...the better".  Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Posted by John G. Johnston, An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO (John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC) over 5 years ago

Wow...this conversation was going on a bit...and a lot of you agree.  Bottom line is this....our 'transparency' shines through our written word.  OUR OWN written words :)

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 5 years ago

It's just silly to think that copy and paste (in the day of the internet especially) would be anything less than foolish. These blogs live on the net forever. 

Posted by Chuck Willman UtahHomes.me, Utah Homes (Utah Homes) over 5 years ago

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