Authors who Plagiarise

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Authors who Plagiarise

Postby Baker » 10 Mar 2013, 07:40

I know I just had a wee bit of fun with my OCR software, but it does raise the point of how easy it is to plagiarise someone else's creative efforts. When all you have to do is copy someone else's work, are there any limits to the temptation to do so?

How do you feel about authors who copy other people's work? Legally and ethically, it's a no-no around the world, but not every case of copying will rate legal investigation. Bloggers who copy and paste someone else's writing aren't gonig to be taken to court for it, because of costs. If someone steals what you've produced online, you know the odds of the theft ever being cost-effective to prosecute are slim to none. Just look at a lot of the fan-fic out there that violates someone copyrighted characters, world, etc. So, what recourse is there? Clearly, where people have blatantly stolen, there's no shame mechanism--or they wouldn't have done it in the first place. Now, if the person plagiarising is an author, how do you feel about his/her work?
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Re: Authors who Plagiarise

Postby deej » 10 Mar 2013, 09:02

I think it says more about the person doing the plagiarizing than anything else ever could. They're too lazy to do their own work, or they don't have the talent but think it's okay to steal from another and get notoriety or money, which is another telling factor about the culprit. Just my opinion though.
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Re: Authors who Plagiarise

Postby Baker » 10 Mar 2013, 09:30

Talentless? Lazy? You said it. If someone has to copy what someone else has created, that really isn't a good reflection on them, is it? Aided by electronic media where it enables people to replicate what others have created for their own vanity and benefit. What about authors who do it? You think when they rip-off someone's creative endeavours, that would make you think less of what they put out in their written work?
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Re: Authors who Plagiarise

Postby deej » 10 Mar 2013, 10:13

Wow, I thought we were talking about Copyright's of books, but now I'm not so sure.
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Re: Authors who Plagiarise

Postby Baker » 10 Mar 2013, 10:30

What do you think a copyright is?
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Re: Authors who Plagiarise

Postby wildlx » 10 Mar 2013, 10:37

Baker wrote: So, what recourse is there? Clearly, where people have blatantly stolen, there's no shame mechanism--or they wouldn't have done it in the first place. Now, if the person plagiarising is an author, how do you feel about his/her work?

Well, people seem to have a sense of impunity. I follow a blog (http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/) that deals with plagiarism and misconduct in scientific papers and that sense of impunity is obvious because when people get caught they have been doing for years and it is not just one paper but sometimes dozens. However, I suppose they can be shamed. The mere existence of such a blog is a means of shaming people who've done such misconduct.
The same could happen in fiction I guess.
Regarding authors who plagiarize I have no interest whatsoever in buying/reading their books.
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Re: Authors who Plagiarise

Postby wildlx » 10 Mar 2013, 10:51

Baker wrote:What do you think a copyright is?

Baker is right in that the person who has the original idea has the copyright, and not the person/persons who have helped to implement that idea. The guys who invented the Google search algorithm have the copyright and not the people at Google who make the search engine work everyday.
Last edited by wildlx on 10 Mar 2013, 23:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Authors who Plagiarise

Postby PaulaO » 10 Mar 2013, 16:31

The problem is, we don't often know when someone plagiarizes. If the one who did it with RCE (back in '06?) probably would not have gotten the attention she did except it affected an anthology that was about to be printed.

With the ease of it all via digital media, it's far too simple for someone to plagiarize, even an entire book. How the heck would you even track it down?
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Re: Authors who Plagiarise

Postby ElaineB » 11 Mar 2013, 00:05

On the Media devoted its whole show to property rights this week. Worth a listen.

The Current State of Ownership
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Re: Authors who Plagiarise

Postby Proofrdr » 11 Mar 2013, 02:41

One of the English 12 requirements for senior graduation at the school I taught at was a research paper on an approved topic...in my case, Brit Lit. Until the internet--and more specifically, the WWW--came along, the teacher was the only defense against plagiarism. Relying on a year of correcting their essays, we used our knowledge of the students' writing style, the depth of their written vocabulary, and our sense of their thought process. We also used our own knowledge of the literary work and, equally important, scholarly writings on the work.

The advent of the internet made my job so much easier! Some of them made it ridiculously easy by taking material verbatim from the internet. For the others, there are programs for teachers designed to track scholarly articles. So, from my perspective, while the internet provides more opportunities for the students to grab other people's written property, it also makes it easier to track that plagiarism.

I find most worrisome the cavalier attitude towards proprietary rights to intellectual material. When I was in high school, plagiarism meant an automatic F and a good amount of public disgrace. When I was at university, it resulted in immediate expulsion. It was a crime and that was drummed into our heads. I don't know that the general population now grasps that concept.
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