Stop plagiarizing my website
by Jamison Koehler on January 11, 2020
Last year I found out that Nabeel Kibria of Ervin Kibria Law had lifted whole blocks of language from my website for use on his.
I immediately called up Mr. Kibria to complain: What are you doing?
Mr. Kibria did not deny that he had plagiarized my site. Nor was he particularly apologetic. It must have been a while ago, he said, because his firm had been writing its own content now for a couple of years. (Was that supposed to make me feel better?). But he did promise to take down the plagiarized content.
I checked his site a couple of weeks later to confirm. I found instead that most of the offending language was still there. Not wanting to take down the entire site, he probably could not remember what he had taken from me and what he had stolen from others.
I did not do anything. Instead, because Google punishes you for duplicative content, I re-wrote my language. If he wanted to appropriate my language, I told myself, I would come up with something better. I would leave him with the inferior language. And then I let the whole thing go.
He avoided my eyes the next time I saw him in the courthouse.
Recently I added new language on my website about expunging your criminal record on the grounds of actual innocence. I thought about the language carefully to make sure it was accurate and clear.
This morning I googled “expungement grounds of actual innocence in D.C.” to see if the new language was registering on Google. The language did in fact register. But it was tied to the Ervin Kibria website. Clicking on the link, I discovered that Mr. Kibria had appropriated five or six paragraphs from my site. The language was identical.
Furious, I tried to reach him immediately by phone. He did not return my call. So I vented on the listserv instead, prompting others to say that they too had had problems with shady marketing practices by Ervin Kibria law. People there advised me to alert Google and to report him to the D.C. bar.
Kibria appears to be taking a hide-your-head-in-the-sand approach, perhaps hoping that, as with last time, I will simply let this go. I do not know what I will do: I mostly want him to just stop stealing my intellectual property.
If I spoke with him, I imagine he would try to blame this on a contractor hired to write content for him. But that is no excuse. You are responsible for what your employees do in your name. I think it was Eric Turkewitz who coined the phrase: “Outsource your marketing = outsource your ethics.”
In the meantime, I am left to wonder who will write all these motions to expunge on the grounds of actual innocence that come in as a result of Mr. Kibria’s marketing. If he cannot write copy for a website, he must also struggle writing a coherent motion. Perhaps he would like me to write those for him as well?