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browersr
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What should be done with Profile Plagiarists?

For the second time within a week or so, my profile was copied by another freelancer.  The first one I reported had the info removed within 24 hours.  I just reported this second one and I have every confidence that UW will take quick action.

 

What is not clear though is whether it will be just action.  Is simply making the person remove the copied text enough?  Should these people really be allowed to just continue on with nothing more?  I would think at the very least the account should be suspended for a month.  Repeat offenders should be kicked off the platform. 

 

Assuming UW acts quickly like the first time and i will say that I really appreciate them taking these complaints seriously.  However, are the current consequences enough?

 

217 REPLIES 217


@Ela K wrote:

 

CS told me that they don't take any action unless at least 70% of the fraudulent profile are similar to or identical with mine. Since when?

In theory, somebody can steal 69% of my profile and UW is OK with that?!?

 


Since when?? If they're going to be so specific about taking action against plagiarists, then I hope they include something about that in the ToS.


@Isabelle Anne A wrote:

@Ela K wrote:

 

CS told me that they don't take any action unless at least 70% of the fraudulent profile are similar to or identical with mine. Since when?

In theory, somebody can steal 69% of my profile and UW is OK with that?!?

 


Since when?? If they're going to be so specific about taking action against plagiarists, then I hope they include something about that in the ToS.


These fake percentage factoids have been swarming like flies around copyright law for ages. Somebody needs to introduce CS to a flyswatter.

As has been inferred above and I've stated elsewhere, these copies do not take a forensic specialist. Much of the time they are EXACT word for word copies. They could easily be checked when someone saves their profile. This doesn't take a human to parse. So much of the time these are people who are non-native English speakers, so if they had the ability to slice and dice to hide what they were doing, they wouldn't need to copy the profile to begin with. They do it because they don't speak English or speak it poorly, hence the exact copies. Much of this issue would go away if an exact text check was made at profile save. What would remain would be a vastly smaller percentage that would likely require someone reporting it to the extent that UW doesn't want to get more sophisticated. I could live with that. Otherwise if I can literally copy and paste the first paragraph of my profile into Google and come up with these matches in less than a second, surely UW can do a better job programmatically doing the same. 100% of this should not be on the freelancer.

Man I can't wait until I get my creative juices flowing and steal 69% of someone's overview. It's gonna be sweeeeet.


@Douglas Michael M wrote:

@Isabelle Anne A wrote:

@Ela K wrote:

 

CS told me that they don't take any action unless at least 70% of the fraudulent profile are similar to or identical with mine. Since when?

In theory, somebody can steal 69% of my profile and UW is OK with that?!?

 


Since when?? If they're going to be so specific about taking action against plagiarists, then I hope they include something about that in the ToS.


These fake percentage factoids have been swarming like flies around copyright law for ages. Somebody needs to introduce CS to a flyswatter.


 Someone needs to take a flyswatter to CS.

 

The problem with Upwork dragging its feet about stolen profiles, is that by the time it has suspended the offender, (if really that supsension happens) the damage on Google has already been done.

 

As to the 70% . . . how does one assess this percentage given the varying lengths of people's profiles? Also the smallest percentage stolen could be the most important part of the original overview (qualifications, for example, or job history, or portfolio) . . . Smiley Frustrated

 


@Isabelle Anne A wrote:

@Ela K wrote:

 

CS told me that they don't take any action unless at least 70% of the fraudulent profile are similar to or identical with mine. Since when?

In theory, somebody can steal 69% of my profile and UW is OK with that?!?

 


Since when?? If they're going to be so specific about taking action against plagiarists, then I hope they include something about that in the ToS.


 That's not what the law says copyright infringement means, and TOS does not allow a site owner to ignore DMCA takedown notices if the law is violated.

Ela and others,

 

Currently the team follows a certain process when reviewing profiles reported for plagiarism that takes into consideration date registered, similarity of the reported content, the amount of the copied content and other factors. The reason for it is that we want to avoid false positives. Even though we have gotten better, faster and stricter with identifying copied profiles and actioning them over the past year, we do realize the process is not perfect.

We appreciate your reporting violations and your feedback which we will be sharing with the team. It helps us a lot as we improve the process. 

~ Valeria
Upwork


@Valeria K wrote:

Ela and others,

 

Currently the team follows a certain process when reviewing profiles reported for plagiarism that takes into consideration date registered, similarity of the reported content, the amount of the copied content and other factors. The reason for it is that we want to avoid false positives. Even though we have gotten better, faster and stricter with identifying copied profiles and actioning them over the past year, we do realize the process is not perfect.

We appreciate your reporting violations and your feedback which we will be sharing with the team. It helps us a lot as we improve the process. 


Valeria, I know you and the other mods aren't responsible for Upwork's decision-making regarding plagiarism, but isn't there someone "higher up" that you can forward this thread to? Is this not enough of a priority? I believe many people don't know that their profiles are copied, otherwise they'd be here complaining as well.

 

It seems that one of the biggest problems regarding this issue is how customer support representatives deal with our reports. If we're honest, most of their responses are nothing short of outrageous ... and how can anyone apart from Upwork fix that fundamental problem? 

 

+ Serious question: What percentage of UW CS representatives are fluent or native English speakers?

tgstudio
Member

There has got to be a better way of preventing this from happening. My profile has been copied at least 4 times. It took them over a year to ban the first one. I must say they were quick to ban the next two. However, this last one I have reported twice. He copied my overview word for word. We'll see what happens.

konservasi
Member

Plagiarism can not be avoided for online job. Take it easy. If the person not professionalism enough he/she can't be survive


@Handy R wrote:

Plagiarism can not be avoided for online job. Take it easy. If the person not professionalism enough he/she can't be survive


 That's ridiculous on numerous levels.

 

There is a clear and simple procedure for addressing copyright issues on the web--it may not be avoidable that someone initially steals your content, but if the site owner complies with its legal obligations, correcting it not only can be avoided but is quite easy to avoid.

 

Whether or not the other freelancer "survives" is hardly the issue. A second profile with the same language weakens the marketing impact of the original. A second profile with the same CREDENTIALS as the first makes it clear that one is a fraud--but most clients aren't going to take the time or roll the dice to sort out which is which...they'll just refrain from hiring either.


@Handy R wrote:

Plagiarism can not be avoided for online job. Take it easy. If the person not professionalism enough he/she can't be survive


It's funny you say that. I just ran a check on a section from your overview, and a few other freelancers' profiles came up in search (and not just Upwork freelancers but profiles from other sites too).

 

So you're either a victim or a perpetrator. Hmmm ... I wonder which one.


@Isabelle Anne A wrote:

It's funny you say that. I just ran a check on a section from your overview, and a few other freelancers' profiles came up in search (and not just Upwork freelancers but profiles from other sites too).

 

So you're either a victim or a perpetrator. Hmmm ... I wonder which one.


 LOL this is great.

Handy wrote "Plagiarism can not be avoided for online job. Take it easy. If the person not professionalism enough he/she can't be survive.."

 

1. Your profile is 'borrowed' ... to put it kindly.

2. Given that, is it any surprise you tell people to chill out?

3. I have reported your profile as plagiarized and am quite sure many others have as well.

4. Your comment is incorrect, misleading and erronous.

 

Others have pointed this out as well.

 

What do you plan to do about it and when?

 

@Wendy C

 

How come you judge me my profile be plagiarism?

 

For the person not agree with me. I just have no idea how to take action about this plagiarism. I believe that Every action there must be replies. Good deeds will be in good reply, bad will be in bad reply.

Some one tell me that how can you take action with plagiarism


@Handy R wrote:

@Wendy C

 

How come you judge me my profile be plagiarism?

 

For the person not agree with me. I just have no idea how to take action about this plagiarism. I believe that Every action there must be replies. Good deeds will be in good reply, bad will be in bad reply.

Some one tell me that how can you take action with plagiarism


 Sadly, Kim had provided an excellent post with detailed instructions, which I'm sure it took her some time to prepare, but for some reason an Upwork moderator removed that information.


@Tiffany S wrote:

@Handy R wrote:

@Wendy C

 

How come you judge me my profile be plagiarism?

 

For the person not agree with me. I just have no idea how to take action about this plagiarism. I believe that Every action there must be replies. Good deeds will be in good reply, bad will be in bad reply.

Some one tell me that how can you take action with plagiarism


 Sadly, Kim had provided an excellent post with detailed instructions, which I'm sure it took her some time to prepare, but for some reason an Upwork moderator removed that information.


 It really is too bad that Upwork's rules often seem to require the removal of posts that contain unbiased, factual information.

Hi All,

 

Kim's post wasn't removed by a moderator but was temporarily hidden by an automatic filter. I have restored it.

 

Sorry about the confusion.

~ Valeria
Upwork

@Tiffany

 

Thanks for the information. I really appreciate that.

 

@Wendy

I just taking other success freelancer overview as inspiration and modify it to suit my expertise. Is it wrong? I think there are a lot of people used this method. But how could you accused me plagiarism somebody overview. Are you have a problem with me?

Just because you do not agree with my opinion. You are reporting my profile. I didnt really understand


@Handy R wrote:

@Tiffany

 

Thanks for the information. I really appreciate that.

 

@Wendy

I just taking other success freelancer overview as inspiration and modify it to suit my expertise. Is it wrong? I think there are a lot of people used this method. But how could you accused me plagiarism somebody overview. Are you have a problem with me?

Just because you do not agree with my opinion. You are reporting my profile. I didnt really understand


 Yes, it's wrong.

 

________________________
Freelancing is a gamble - To win you need skill, luck and a strategy


@Handy R wrote:



I just taking other success freelancer overview as inspiration and modify it to suit my expertise. Is it wrong? 


 LOL jesus. So many things to say that will get me into trouble. So many.


@Handy R wrote:

@Tiffany

 

Thanks for the information. I really appreciate that.

 

@Wendy

I just taking other success freelancer overview as inspiration and modify it to suit my expertise. Is it wrong? I think there are a lot of people used this method. But how could you accused me plagiarism somebody overview. Are you have a problem with me?

Just because you do not agree with my opinion. You are reporting my profile. I didnt really understand


 Whether or not it's wrong depends on what you mean by "inspiration." 

 

If you mean that you saw on someone's profile that he had used a couple of good reviews from past clients in the overview section and decide to do that, too, that's fine.

 

If you mean that you take an exact or near-exact sentence (or more than one) from someone else's profile and just change a few words to make it apply to you, that's not inspiration. It's copyright infringement, and it's against the law.


Tiffany S wrote:

 Whether or not it's wrong depends on what you mean by "inspiration." 

 

If you mean that you saw on someone's profile that he had used a couple of good reviews from past clients in the overview section and decide to do that, too, that's fine.

 

If you mean that you take an exact or near-exact sentence (or more than one) from someone else's profile and just change a few words to make it apply to you, that's not inspiration. It's copyright infringement, and it's against the law.


 These people think that changing words around in a sentence makes it 'unique' and it isn't plagiarism. It's "inspiration." **Edited for Community Guidelines** I know because I dealt with them and their **Edited for Community Guidelines**


@Handy R wrote:

 


@Wendy

I just taking other success freelancer overview as inspiration and modify it to suit my expertise. Is it wrong? I think there are a lot of people used this method. But how could you accused me plagiarism somebody overview. Are you have a problem with me?

Just because you do not agree with my opinion. You are reporting my profile. I didnt really understand


The level of **Edited for Community Guidelines** is astonishing.  

It's been 3-days since I reported these exact copies of my profile. I have no response from CS and one continues to work with clients and has made over $3k with a stolen profile.  Unacceptable.

aocumen
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Scott, 


I'm sorry if the team was unable to update your ticket. I would just like to share that the day you submitted the ticket, actions have been taken against the profiles you reported as requested. 


~ Avery
Upwork


@Avery O wrote:

Hi Scott, 


I'm sorry if the team was unable to update your ticket. I would just like to share that the day you submitted the ticket, actions have been taken against the profiles you reported as requested. 


Thanks, Avery. I am sorry that CS puts you guys in these positions. To not respond, leave the ticket open, and hope the requester goes to a forum and asks a moderator, is such a terrible process. Not to mention leaving the fraudulent profile in a state that makes it appear like nothing has been done, is exasperating (I've mentioned this one before). I still get the pleasure of clicking on their link and seeing my profile. It's a great feeling. 

 

I hope the greater powers at UW know the value you guys bring. If I had to decide purely based on what I've seen and experienced, without you guys providing some level of sanity, I would have been gone long ago...

 

 


@Scott B wrote:

Thanks, Avery. I am sorry that CS puts you guys in these positions. To not respond, leave the ticket open, and hope the requester goes to a forum and asks a moderator, is such a terrible process ...

 

I hope the greater powers at UW know the value you guys bring. If I had to decide purely based on what I've seen and experienced, without you guys providing some level of sanity, I would have been gone long ago... 

 


Exactly. This is another thing that really irritates me about how Upwork runs. They let things get out of hand and leave it up to the moderators to sort the mess out. Sometimes I just skip CS and go straight to the forums with my issues because they have a much better chance of getting fixed when a moderator's notified. 

If another FL is going to (in effect) steal someone's experience information and profile in general, then perhaps they'd also like to take on that person's bills, responsibilities, and other life requirements.  This is precisely what I tell my ex-husband when he asks why I don't worry overmuch about someone "stealing my identity".  I simply remind him that my identity is not exactly one that is considered "palatable", considering they will never get a CC, nor will they manage to set up services without photo identification and a deposit.  I thank my children for that.  Sometimes parental debt has its advantages.

 

I'm quite curious about this 70% thing though.  I understand UW can't spend all day hunting down turns of phrase that are similar, but they should certainly be able to remove profiles that are REPORTED.  Obviously the person doing the reporting has already assessed the damage (percentage) and deemed it to be well beyond the bounds of "inspiration", right?

~I am only here when I can tolerate having my eyes blasted, my privacy treated like a joke, and my temper pushed to it's limit. For all other times, please request alternate contact methods~

> CS told me that they don't take any action unless at least 70% of the fraudulent profile are similar to or identical with mine. Since when?

 

Rubbish. There is no percentage requirement. (There are circumstances under British law where *up to* 10% of using material from elsewhere may be considered fair use, and perhaps there is a a parallel under US law, but in these circumstances that is a red herring.) 

 

Don't debate. Simply serve a legal notice. You don't need to pay anyone anything. Just send the relevant information. 

 

It's theft. It's hosted on Upwork's site. It's illegal. If Upwork allows the text copied from your profile to remain published, it is breaching copyright. 

 

Edited to add: Referring to 'plagiarism' weakens the argument. Although plagiarism is usually involved, the issue is of copyright infringement. The term 'plagiarism' is often used as an attempt to reduce the seriousness of the offence. 

 

Plagiarism is immoral, but it isn't necessarily illegal. Copyright infringement is. You hold the copyright to your profile. If anyone has used it, they have stolen it. If Upwork allow it to be published they are culpable.

 

------------------------

Takedown Notice Pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998

 

To Whom It May Concern,

 

This is a notice in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) requesting that you immediately cease to provide access to copyrighted material. I wish to report an instance of copyright Infringement, whereby the infringing material appears on a website for which you are the host.

 

The infringing material, which I contend belongs to me, is the following:

Upwork profile of xxxx xxxx of country

 

The original material is located on my Upwork profile at the following URL:

Your profile URL

 

The infringing material is located at the following URL:

Their profile URL

 

My contact information is:

Name: Your name

Mailing address: Your address

Telephone number: Your phone number

E-mail address: Your email

 

I have a good faith belief that the use of the described material in the manner complained of is not authorised by the copyright owner, its agent, or by operation of law.

 

The information in this notice is accurate, and I am the copyright owner.

 

I declare under the perjury laws of the United States of America that this notification is true and correct.

 

Signed: Your name

Date: Date

 ------------------------------------------------------

I see my post has been deleted because I described how to send a DMCA notice.  It would have been nice to have been notified about this. 

 

I can be contacted by PM if anyone wants a copy of the template.


@Kim F wrote:

I see my post has been deleted because I described how to send a DMCA notice.  It would have been nice to have been notified about this. 

 

I can be contacted by PM if anyone wants a copy of the template.


Let 'em take it down ... it's in the email notification I received. Smiley LOL

A moderator's decision to delete Kim's post baffles me.  I would think that Upwork would be grateful for any steps taken to ensure the integrity of the plarform.

 

I have a copy of Kim's letter as well; happy to share if needed.  Thank you, Kim!

I am sorry, I usually agree with Upwork, but if someone copies even 10% of my profile and the client researches that, they are not going to take the time to see whose profile is older. They are just going to move on. That is loss of business for me and/or other freelancers WHO FOLLOW THE RULES. People who plagerize their profile, skills, cheat on tests, copy portfolios, lie about their location, etc. should be banned. They have nothing to offer this platform.  

"Fairness is giving all people the treatment they earn and deserve. It doesn't mean treating everyone alike-Coach John Wooden"

Technically, it is very simple to avoid such a problems. If Upwork can't solve this, this is just because of laziness. ๐Ÿ™‚
When Overview is submitted by a user. Upwork should check that texts in Overview doesn't match the texts of other users/freelancers. Thats is technically easy task!
When a users submit or change a profile they should see a notification if texts in their Overview has been recognised as similar to other Overview texts. If they copy/paste a whole sentences, they should be banned immediately. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another point to discussion is: why clients rely on profile Overviews and don't rely on feedbacks from past clients? If you have a great feedbacks from clients and your skills match with clients requirements you should be automatically selected by a client. But this is not works in Upwork. I don't know why, but clients select freelancers by unreasonable ways. Perhaps, they select the first who answered to job post. And here is a lot of work for Upwork to explain to clients why this decision can be very very big mistake!


@Igor M wrote:

(...) why clients rely on profile Overviews and don't rely on feedbacks from past clients? (...) I don't know why, but clients select freelancers by unreasonable ways. (...)


How the frak do you know how clients select freelancers and why do you think they all follow the exact same logic? Did Upwork gave you some internal data that allows you to make such bold statements?  

-----------
"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   โ€”William Ashbless

Rene,

 

First, my messages is my private opinion. Nothing more.

 

Second, I make this conclusion based on my 2 months experience on trying to find a new project here and contacting with a few clients.

 

By the way, I have a 10 years experience in freelancing. In oDesk, furthermore in Upwork.


@Igor M wrote:

Rene,

 

First, my messages is my private opinion. Nothing more.


 Actually, "Clients do X" is not an opinion. It's an assertion of fact that is true, false, or true for some clients and not others. The latter is the most likely, but you don't know for sure with current information.

 

Opinions are things like "Chocolate tastes better than vanilla" or "It's easier to work on a fixed-price basis than an hourly contract."

re: "I see my post has been deleted because I described how to send a DMCA notice."

 

Maybe they thought your post was plagiarized.