Authors who Plagiarise

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Re: Authors who Plagiarise

Postby Baker » 11 Mar 2013, 07:07

I would say more entitlement than cavalier, Proof. I don't know if you remember, but even on this forum we've had people argue it's totally okay for them to pirate books etc even though the person doing the copying would never work for no pay themselves! Some people even think they're doing the creator a favour by copying/stealing their work. Plagiarists can find any excuse to justify what they're doing. Mind you, it takes a special sort of hypocrite to condemn the practice in others yet totally justify it when they do it.

Yes, P, uncovering plagiarism and piracy can be virtually impossible, especially when its so widespread. Then what do you do? Issue a takedown notice and hope the torrent site complies? Not much of a deterrent to the people actually doing the copying and disseminating.
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Re: Authors who Plagiarise

Postby FranW » 11 Mar 2013, 09:16

First:a head's up (I've posted this elsewhere) that there's a new pirate website SELLING your books (cheaply) without paying author or publisher. Sic your publishers on them, please! (Though I'm told the site is based in China, so y'all may be SOL)

Yes, the web and electronic copying has made it about a zillion times easier to plagiarise and infringe copyright (which aren't the same thing). Patents (which I think Wild may have been referring to re Google search software etc) are a bit of a different kettle of fish.

Plagiarism is unethical. Copyright infringement is illegal (and, by extension, unethical).

If I publish "Pride and Prejudice" by Fran Walker it'd be plagiarism -- I'm claiming work that's not mine, so it's unethical. It's in the public domain though so I'm not infringing anyone's copyright.

If I put a photo in the "So Cute!" thread, technically speaking I may be infringing copyright unless I had permission from the photographer to hotlink the image here. I've probably done it more than once. It's not plagiarism because I'm not pretending I took the photo, but it's wrong of me to use someone else's work, even if not for gain, without their permission.

If I buy an essay and turn it in to my teacher as my own work, it's not illegal because I bought the right to it, but it is unethical and is considered academic misconduct, punishable by expulsion.

If L-J sells a new e-version of Adijan and her Genie, she's okay as long as she holds the right to do so. But she can't use the same cover art, or the same layout, as Bedazzled Ink did, because that is their intellectual property. She has to create a new cover and a new layout. (Book layouts differ in complexity: if it's just plain text and paging, there's no real IP involved; if there are special fonts, chapter headers, etc, then publishers are more likely to feel proprietary about it.)

So, though they do overlap, they are two slightly different issues. One is the theft of someone's legal property -- which, as Baker noted, is generally not worth pursuing in court unless it's a novel with a hefty-sized publisher behind it. In general you issue a take-down notice and tell the person they don't have the right to use your text/images/whatever on their website or blog or forum or whatever. The other is an ethical issue, and if there are no legal aspects to it then it's just a matter of your personal feeling about the issue, and the person who plagiarises, and if your distaste extends to the person's other work. Kind of like whether your feelings for Orson Scott Card's anti-gay political activity bothers you enough that you won't buy his books or see his movies or whatever. (For me, yes, it bothers me enough.)
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