Cribbing Restaurant lists is not cool, is plagiarism, and is unprofessional!



Twice in the past month a section of one of two of my Blogposts, being lists of Restaurant Closures and Reopened Sit-Down Restaurants, has been cribbed and shared without permission or credit to this Blog as the source. While this is extremely flattering to me as the owner and editor of the Blog, it is downright illegal, constituting plagiarism, and is downright unprofessional!

The first copy-and-paste experience happened in June 2020, when I wrote my monthly Restaurant Opening and Closure post, now incorporating not only Closures prior to the start of Lockdown Level 5, but also the twenty or so restaurants which had announced their permanent closure during Lockdown. Unbeknown to me, as permission was not requested of me, someone copy-and-pasted the list of Restaurant Closures before and during Lockdown out of my Blogpost, and distributed it to friends and family, and shared it on their Social Media platforms. A chain of sharing resulted, at an incredible magnitude, I estimating that this section of my Blogpost was shared more than 1000 times! What amazed me the most is that no sharer even questioned the original source of the list, that no source was mentioned, or even the correctness of the list, it containing two restaurants said to have closed permanently but then these having a rethink, and reopening again during Level 3. I questioned a number of the sharers for using my list, but as they did not do the copy-and-pasting, they denied any wrong-doing, as it had been sent to them by their trusted friend XYZ!  When I posted a link to the relevant Blogpost, to show the corrected and extended list of Restaurant Closures, it was deleted by these perpetrators.

Restaurants in Lockdown: some have closed down, others have moved towards Food Delivery & Collection, and Alcohol Sales, as Restaurant Sit-Down remains prohibited, June 2020.

Even worse a case happened last week, when the Cape Town Eats Facebook Group belonging to Tourist Guide Pamela McOnie was created just after I started the Lockdown Food Delivery & Collection Restaurant Cape Town & Winelands Facebook Group in late April, one could say a first cribbing of an idea!  All of a sudden I noticed that she too had started a List of Restaurants which had opened for Sit-Down Service, again after I posted mine on Wednesday 2 July, another cribbing of an idea of mine!

Restaurants offering Sit-Down service in Cape Town and Winelands in Lockdown Level 3: a First List!

The biggest shock was seeing the Atlantic Seaboard restaurants from my List included in the Cape Town Eats List, without any acknowledgement originally. I wrote a comment to the post on the offending Facebook Group, and received the following reply from McOnie:

Chris Von Ulmenstein the Seapoint list was on the seapoint community forum. I asked him if I could use his list and he agreed. It is from their admin. There was no mention of you on that list. He gave permission’.

This was downright untruthful, as I never posted a Sea Point List on the Sea Point Community Facebook Group. I posted a link to my Blogpost containing a list of all Cape Town and Winelands Restaurants offering a Sit-Down Service. She would have clicked my Blog link to get to my list. Not only did she crib the Sea Point List, but the Camps Bay, Green Point, and Mouille Point lists too. I posted my Blogpost link as a comment on her Facebook post, but she deleted it.

I then tackled the Admin of the Sea Point Community Facebook Group, not knowing the name of the person initially, questioning his right to give permission to McOnie to crib the Atlantic Seaboard restaurant list out of my Blogpost, as the Blogpost does not belong to him, and as he did not compile the list.  A Dennis Dyason replied, turning out to be the Admin/owner of the Sea Point Community Group, as follows:

Chris Von Ulmenstein when something gets posted on this group, it becomes public information. Admin has the right to allow any member to copy, paste and share if they deem fit to do so. Since when do you own the sole rights to publish which Restaurants are open for business in Cape Town, and specifically the Sea Point and Atlantic Seaboard area?’

I replied in the Sea Point Community Facebook Group as follows:

Dennis Dyason It is my intellectual capital. There is an international law as well as common decency which forbids plagiarism. My Blogname is clearly visible. You do not own it, nor do you have the right to give permission for someone else to use my content.

Surely Pamela McOnie could have asked my permission to crib from my list ? 😡😡😡‘

A Facebook Group Admin does not own my content and cannot give a third party permission to commit what is outright plagiarism?

Since creating pressure, McOnie credited Sea Point Community as the author of the Sea Point, Green Point, Mouille Point, and Camps Bay restaurant lists on her Facebook Group. With a friend we checked her Blog, and found that she had credited me personally by name in the relevant sections, despite her source being WhaleTales Blog and still not having requested my permission, but steadfastly refused to do so in her Facebook Group post.

To put an end to this drama, and seeing a friend of hers Sam Linsell disparaging me on Twitter in retaliation, I gave McOnie until midnight last night to correct her wrongdoing. She did not bother to respond, or to make any corrections!

Plagiarism is defined as follows by Oxford University, I found from a Google Search:

Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, with or without their consent, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgement. All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition. Plagiarism may be intentional or reckless, or unintentional’.

I am now resorting to big notices in red above my Restaurant Lists in my Blogposts on my Blog, to notify any potential copy-and-pasters from cribbing all or parts of my lists! And I have lodged a complaint against Cape Town Eats with Facebook.




POSTSCRIPT 11/7: Once again my list of Restaurant Closures was posted without my knowledge or credit to me in Die Burger, reading about it on the Good, Bad, and Nasty Cape Town Restaurant Facebook Group. Someone just posted a photograph of the List, but not the article accompanying it, which was about the court case taking place on 14/7, demanding that restaurants be allowed to serve alcohol with meals. The same debate took place about the List as we have had before. I contacted the author of the article, Jana Breytenbach, and she assured me that she had given me credit for it. While it does appear in the Media 24 article digitally, it does not in Die Burger article. 🥵🥵🥵


About Chris von Ulmenstein

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein


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