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Steal This Graphic!

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It's been an amazing week for my work going viral! Unfortunately, I'm not getting all the credit.

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On Thursday, January 3 I posted this comical weather map to my Tumblr. Within 24 hours, it already had tens of thousands of notes, which was thrilling.

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Then, on January 7, USA Today ran a comical weather map on their Facebook page that looked suspiciously like mine but with the language cleaned up. And: no credit whatsoever to me or my original map. They even traced the isobar lines I had done (poorly) in Illustrator. Their version got thousands of likes and comments on Facebook.

The next day, they apologized--to me on the phone, and publicly. This was all covered by Jim Romenesko and on Poynter.org.

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I thought this was done, but no. The next day, January 8, Buzzfeed retweeted an altered version of my original map that someone had found on Reddit. After some uproar from my fans, they later ran the altered map on their Facebook with credit given to me. It wasn't my original map at this point that I was getting credit for, but OK. Buzzfeed's tweet of the altered map got thousands of retweets and faves, and those who saw it on their Twitter feed still have no idea who was behind the original map.

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And again, I thought this was done, but no. Today, the Twitter feed for Chris Hardwick's TV show @midnight ran a parody of the USA Today graphic, apparently with no idea that their image was stolen from me. No credit to me for the original, no acknowledgment that the subject of their parody was actually in the news earlier in the week for being stolen.

What have I learned from this? Stuff you post on the Internet truly takes on a life of its own. But please--try to credit the artist and/or writer who came up with it first. Especially if you are America's largest-circulation newspaper, or a hit basic cable TV show.