Read the origin of the story at the weblog of the plagiarized party, Tequila Mockingbird.
Read Pamie's take.
Read Wendy's take (and take two).
Read Sour Bob's take.
The reason this terrifies me is not because it's internet plagiarism, which is actually kind of a terrifying thing in that millions of people have the opportunity to take anything you put out there and you might never even find out--very likely won't, in fact--that they've passed off your words as their own. Ask any teacher: kids are bringing in essays downloaded in their entirety off the internet and turning them in as original work.
The reason it terrifies me in this case is because--it's just so dumb. Here's what seems to have happened: this Bryan Lamb guy has three weblogs. He plagiarized Julia's Tequila Mockingbird blog because, as Wendy so eloquently puts it, he seems to view both a Blogspot account and the content you put on it as something you just acquire, like Ikea furniture (and that's directly paraphrasing Wendy). He then submits his link to Julia to be put on her friends list, basically. Julia starts reading his blog. Julia realizes that much of his work is hers, only with "m-f'er" added here and there, it would seem. Julia writes him a very fair, civil, and gentle email, giving him the benefit of the doubt regarding the concept of plagiarism. (I would have less patience, myself. I'd be writing things like, "If you no writey the words, the words not belongy to you, sweetie. NOW TAKE THEM THE FUCK DOWN.")
So Bryan Lamb does not reply. So Julia switched from honey to vinegar, as she puts it. And it looks like he's plagiarized at least one other blogger, from what I've gleaned. So what does Bryan Lamb do? He notifies her that "he has retained an attorney and is considering filing a civil action against [Julia] for 'slander and defamation of character.'" About this time, the bloggers linked above (particularly Sour Bob, but many, many others as well) circle the wagons and make the blogosphere aware of what's been done. I just heard about it today, but the most recent update on Julia's blog indicates that Bryan Lamb has just barely altered the material he took from her (but not from anyone else), but has made no other move to explain or apologize.
Here's why this terrifies me: God damn, this is a soulless motherfucker. Dumb, but soulless. What's the point of having a blog if it's got someone else's life on it? Wendy's theory about "acquiring" content--you buy furniture for a house; you steal content for your blog--may or may not be on the mark, but it sounds just so empty-eyed and commodified and... true. The Abercrombie-and-Fitchification of America. And I'm using this as a metaphor, not literally an attack on a clothing company. This glossy-bland way of life: if you don't have it, buy it. Acquire it. Take someone else's words to make yourself look like the person you wish you were. I'm not going to put up with that, and you shouldn't either.