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Bloggers are the New Plagiarism 326

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-think-i've-heard-that-before dept.
mjeppsen writes "PlagiarismToday offers a thought-provoking article that frankly discusses concerns with plagiarism and rote content theft among bloggers. In the section entitled "Block quotes by the Dozen" the author mentions the so-called "gray area". That is PlagiarismToday's classification of the common blogger practice of re-using large blocks of text/content from the original article or source, even when the source is attributed."
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Bloggers are the New Plagiarism

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  • Bzzzzt! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:49PM (#15382061) Homepage Journal
    even when the source is attributed.

    Its not plagiarism then is it?
    • Re:Bzzzzt! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DingerX (847589)
      Well, yeah, it is. In this case, while the citation may be there, enough of the text is taken that there's no point in consulting the original article (so it's not like aggregators such as slashdot, which point to the article). The blogger adds no additional content, and effectively profits (whether in "community kudos" or adsense) from unauthorized reproduction of someone else's content.

      That's plagiarism, whether cited it or not.

      Think of some of the "techno trends" blog links that make it to slashdot som
      • Re:Bzzzzt! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jav1231 (539129)
        No it isn't. No where in the definition of plagiarism does it mention "profit." What you are descibing is profitting from someone else's work. That's stealing of another sort.
      • Re:Bzzzzt! (Score:5, Informative)

        by DarkOx (621550) on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:04PM (#15382229) Journal
        Well no... If you cite the source it is not plagiarism; so much as it simple copyright infringment.
        • If you cite the source it is not plagiarism; so much as it simple copyright infringment.

          It may or may not be copyright infringement. It all depends on whether the author still has any copyright protection over the material.

          For example, you can quote the entirity of Melville's Moby Dick without infringing Mr. Melville's copyright.

          For that matter, you can publish a complete copy of Moby Dick, but you would commit plagiarism if you put your name on it as the author instead of Mr. Melvill's.

          • Heh. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@g m a i l .com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:58PM (#15382704) Journal
            Well, I don't forsee a rash of bloggers rushing out to crib chunks of Moby Dick. And clearly, when they correctly cite their sources, it's not plagarism.

            On the other hand, with the internet cash flow model being built around page views, it is clearly dishonest for a blogger to simply copy-paste someone else's content on their own site.

            Someone who is actually creating their own content would be satisfied with a hyperlink...for them to be pasting huge chunks of material, suggests to me that they have a simple (and intellectually dishonest) profit motive.

            On the other hand, I do like the occasional full article text post, but I think that should only be in the comments, and only where there is a link in the top-level post, which is either restricted (i.e. WSJ, NYT, AJC, etc) or Slashdotted.

            Either way I think a content provider could make a solid case for copyright infringement. If I printed my own copy of someone else's book with a citation at the beginning stating that all that follows comes from this other book, then I'm clearly ripping them off.
      • Re:Bzzzzt! (Score:5, Funny)

        by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:04PM (#15382235) Homepage
        I think you said it best when you mentioned:
        Well, yeah, it is. In this case, while the citation may be there, enough of the text is taken that there's no point in consulting the original article (so it's not like aggregators such as slashdot, which point to the article). The blogger adds no additional content, and effectively profits (whether in "community kudos" or adsense) from unauthorized reproduction of someone else's content. That's plagiarism, whether cited it or not.
        You went on to note that:
        Think of some of the "techno trends" blog links that make it to slashdot sometimes. Slashdot links to the blog; the blog contains pretty much the whole news item, and you're done.
        • I often try to track down the original source, and cite that, although I will often give a knod of the head to the blogger or news story where I stumbled across the item.

          If it is a good item, then both items should be acknowledged. Although some blogs have made an interesting practical joke on this....

      • Less I am mistaken that would just make it a copyright violation. Plagiarism I belive is strictly claiming the work as your own. So citing is not plagirism as you do atribute the work to its rightfull creator. If you overstep fair use in your citation then you venture into copyright territory.
      • Re:Bzzzzt! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:05PM (#15382239) Homepage Journal
        That's plagiarism, whether cited it or not.
        Plagiarism: [reference.com] n 1: a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work 2: the act of plagiarizing; taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own. [emph mine]
        No, its not plagiarism. I'm not arguing about the ethics of what you describe. Just saying that plagiarism neccessitates passing off the work as your own. If you site a source, its no more plagiarism then copying a music CD is plagiarism.
        • No, its not plagiarism. I'm not arguing about the ethics of what you describe. Just saying that plagiarism neccessitates passing off the work as your own. If you site a source, its no more plagiarism then copying a music CD is plagiarism.

          Exactamundo. Quibbling about semantics sometimes seems worthless, until you remember that people's opinions and morals are often swayed by using just the right (or wrong) words. Witness the ??AA calling copyright infringement "stealing" to throw the weight of the Ten Comman
        • Re:Bzzzzt! (Score:5, Informative)

          by Ruff_ilb (769396) on Monday May 22, 2006 @04:12PM (#15383286) Homepage
          Even if you cite a source, it can still be plagarism. You must both cite the source from which the idea comes from AND quote any words the original source used. Anything less constitutes plagarism.

          For example, the wikipedia article says that "Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty; it is a matter of deceit: fooling a reader into believing that certain written material is original when it is not. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense when the goal is to obtain some sort of personal academic credit or personal recognition.

          Plagiarism is not necessarily the same as copyright infringement, which occurs when one violates copyright law." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagarism)

          That is the correct way to properly cite the article, so as to not avoid plagarism.

          This is wrong, because I don't cite the article OR use quotes:

          Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty; it is a matter of deceit: fooling a reader into believing that certain written material is original when it is not. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense when the goal is to obtain some sort of personal academic credit or personal recognition.

          Plagiarism is not necessarily the same as copyright infringement, which occurs when one violates copyright law.

          This is wrong, because I don't cite the article:

          "Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty; it is a matter of deceit: fooling a reader into believing that certain written material is original when it is not. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense when the goal is to obtain some sort of personal academic credit or personal recognition.

          Plagiarism is not necessarily the same as copyright infringement, which occurs when one violates copyright law."

          This is wrong because, EVEN THOUGH I'm citing the article, I'm still stealing their words. If they're using a specific wording and I use it, even if I cite the article, I MUST use quotes. Thus, the following is incorrect:

          According to Wikipedia, plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty; it is a matter of deceit: fooling a reader into believing that certain written material is original when it is not. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense when the goal is to obtain some sort of personal academic credit or personal recognition.

          Plagiarism is not necessarily the same as copyright infringement, which occurs when one violates copyright law.
          (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagarism)

          Note, however, that if I don't use their words, only a citation is necessary:

          According to wikipedia, plagarism is a grave issue of cheating and using someone else's words as your own without giving them credit. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagarism)

          I see the third type of plagarism (No quotes, direct word lift, and citation) on Slashdot ALL THE TIME. Whenever a submitter copies part of the article verbatim without quoting it, that's plagarism.
      • Re:Bzzzzt! (Score:3, Informative)

        by robertjw (728654)
        In this case, while the citation may be there, enough of the text is taken that there's no point in consulting the original article (so it's not like aggregators such as slashdot, which point to the article). The blogger adds no additional content, and effectively profits (whether in "community kudos" or adsense) from unauthorized reproduction of someone else's content.

        That's plagiarism, whether cited it or not.


        Do you have a reference for this definition of plagarism? The definition I found is more
      • Copyright infringement and plagiarism are not the same thing.

        If there is a citation given then the work is not being passed off as your own. It's not plagiarized.
      • No, it's not plagiarism but possibly copyright infringement if carried to the extreme.

        Plagiarism is specifically taking another's work and presenting it as your own. Of course, if you give a professor an essay consisting only of one long attributed quote - he won't fail you for plagiarism, but for having no original content of your own, perhaps also for not showing any original thought either.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        If you take content from an article and credit it, that's not plagiarism. Dictionary.com (from WordNet) [reference.com] describes plagiarism as: "the act of plagiarizing; taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own". If you stick someone else's name on it, it's clearly not your own! (Of course, the web is Content + Markup, so depending upon how the citation is visible or not is a whole other discussion...)

        Small excerpts of text are usually considered "fair use". Large excerpts or wholesale copying is usuall
      • In this case, while the citation may be there, enough of the text is taken that there's no point in consulting the original article ...The blogger adds no additional content, and effectively profits (whether in "community kudos" or adsense) from unauthorized reproduction of someone else's content.

        Plagerism and copyright infringment are congruent, but not equivalent. I think what you're describing there is copyright infringement, not plagerism. I always thought of plagerism as passing somebody else's una
      • "Well, yeah, it is. In this case, while the citation may be there, enough of the text is taken that there's no point in consulting the original article (so it's not like aggregators such as slashdot, which point to the article). The blogger adds no additional content, and effectively profits (whether in "community kudos" or adsense) from unauthorized reproduction of someone else's content.

        That's plagiarism, whether cited it or not.

        Think of some of the "techno trends" blog links that make it to slashdot some
      • That's plagiarism, whether cited it or not.

        No, it isn't, because plagiarism requires that you claim material as your own, which citation is done to avoid. Read it in the dictionary sometime. It takes what, five seconds to look it up online?
      • That's not plagiarism, that's copyright infringement.

        People seem to confuse these two concepts a lot. They occur together quite often, so I suppose it's understandable, but that doesn't make it correct.

        Plagiarism is taking someone else's work for your own. Oftentimes this can be done without actually violating their copyright. For example, see the case of the recent Harvard student who got her book pulled because of passages that were very close to another book's. The passages aren't identical, and there's
    • The site looks slashdotted (wherever that term came from I'll never know.), but I'd say that it complains that some bloggers re-post large sections of content. Allows users to 'skip' advertisements which remain on the remote site unseen, while while still presenting the bulk of the 'useful' information on the blogger site.

      Say, for example, one could post the text of the story on this forum. So that we all my read the intellectual property, whilst it's server (and it advertising revenue) sit there.

    • by JSBiff (87824) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:59PM (#15382181) Journal
      Parent is correct - plagiarism is claiming as your original work, someone else's work. If you attribute the work, it is clearly not plagiarism, and not a 'gray area'. The only 'gray area', I would say, would be copyright violation. It is fair use to quote someone else. But, at what point of copying large blocks of someone else's copyrighted material do you cross the line from fair use to copyright infringement?

      Personally, I would err on the side of fair use - particularly if the bloggers are adding significant amounts of criticism/commentary (for example, Groklaw recently commented on the blog of some ZDNet analyst, and PJ included almost the entire text of the blog entry - but that is because she was doing a point by point rebuttal of his tripe - that should be considered fair use, because it's almost impossible to rebut in entirety, if you cannot quote in entirety). If they copy 5 pages of article text and add a 3 line summary/critique at the top, that, to me, would not be fair use.
      • My guess though is PJ quoted it, mentioning that these were direct quotes from the referred blog. Are all these bloggers or are they just creating a link to what they are talking about while lifting large portions of the source and passing it off as their own interpretation, criticism or ideas?

        Simply adding a citation does not make it impossible to plagiarize that same source.
      • I agree. It may be wrong, it may even be copyright violation, but it is not plagiarism.

        The essence of plagiarism is fraud--passing somebody else's work off as your own. Absent that element, it is not plagiarism.
      • But, at what point of copying large blocks of someone else's copyrighted material do you cross the line from fair use to copyright infringement?

        Yes, that's what may be open for debate, however, of all blogs I've visited, I can hardly say anything I've seen has raised doubts about this. Again, as the author names his section by, it's about these block quotes, and how often do these cover more than a paragraph or so? A majority of a document? Hardly. That would make for a quite hard to read blog too; people d
    • "Its not plagiarism then is it?"

      Correct. "The new plagiarism" is not really plagiarism.

      Likewise, when you see something like "white is the new black," the person making the statement is not actually confused about the difference between white and black. They are using irony and literary license.

      Of course, on Slashdot, if somebody were to write something like "white is the new black" or "Linux is the new Windows" or "Larry Ellison is the new Bill Gates," somebody would probably reply with "no, Linu

      • Following up to my own post, I just got the new PC Magazine, and one of the cover stories is headlined "Red is the New Gray" in relation to a new Dell notebook. Again, the editors at PC Magazine are not of the misunderstanding that red and gray are the same color.

        With all the discussion here of whether copying with attribution is really plagiarism, I'm guessing that the "______ is the new _______" phrase just isn't well-known among the Slashdot generation.

      • > They are using irony and literary license.

        That's being far too charitable. More likely, this person is trying to muddy the issue by exploiting a poorly understood nuance in order to slander someone(s) percieved as being competitors.
      • I spent a few minutes trying to call up the original article so I could respond with a thoughtful statement about how the original article says it's "the new plagiarism."

        And then I read your bit and realized I didn't need to. It's amazing how many people don't seem to understand that the New Something shouldn't be the Old Something because then it would just be the Old Something. Maybe the article should try and coin a new phrase for the phenomena like "polypasting" or "prolificopy" or something. That way
  • You know (Score:5, Funny)

    by baldass_newbie (136609) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:49PM (#15382062) Homepage Journal
    I've seen the results of this study before somewhere...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:49PM (#15382064)
    I hope somebody has quickly plagiarised their article because their server appears to be already slashdotted.
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@@@gmail...com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:49PM (#15382066) Journal

    I agree, it is easy to copy and paste, and with the proliferation of blogs, on-line stories, etc., realizing and detecting inversely proportionately becomes harder.

    What makes this issue so difficult to address, and so difficult to write about, is that it's not so much about gray blogs, but rather, various shades of grey blogs. The difference between someone simply quoting blogs and someone trying to tweak the system is not a clear cut matter, but a separation of degrees.

    Quoting, even liberal quoting, is expected by blogs. It's a part of researching a story and covering ongoing stories as well as sharing information. If done properly, it can not only be used to create a new work, but also drive valuable traffic to the original site. In the blogging world, being the source is often a badge of honor.

  • by aapold (753705) * on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:51PM (#15382081) Homepage Journal
    PlagiarismToday offers a thought-provoking article that frankly discusses concerns with plagiarism and rote content theft among bloggers. In the section entitled "Block quotes by the Dozen" the author mentions the so-called "gray area". That is PlagiarismToday's classification of the common blogger practice of re-using large blocks of text/content from the original article or source, even when the source is attributed." I agree completely.
  • by enitime (964946) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:51PM (#15382082)
    Not that it's Slashdotted or anything, I just thought it'd be funny.

    ---

    The Investor Relations Web Report calls it "the new plagiarism". Dan Zarella from Puritan City call those who engage in it "the best plagiarists". Others simply call them bloggers or, as Zarella also put it, "Human Aggregators".

    They're a new breed of content users that walk a gray area between that which is clearly fair use and what is obviously content theft. Their blogs are marked with large swaths of block quotes and heavy content reuse, but also proper attribution and at least some original content.

    These sites, as they've grown in number, have created a great deal of controversy among bloggers who are left to wonder if they are nothing more than content thieves in disguise.

    Block quotes by the Dozen

    These sites, which for this article I'll simply call "gray", are generally identified by a large number of very short posts, with much of it in block quotes or otherwise directly lifted content. Though they meticulously credit their sources, bowing to more traditional rules for blog attribution, and work to add at least some original content, usually over half of their material comes from other sources.

    This has caused many bloggers to worry that these grey blogs might be trying to get away with content theft under the guise of legitimate attribution. The idea being that they can create a much larger volume of content if they only have to write a small portion of it. Users will simply visit the gray blogs since they are able to provide so much more information and, due to the use of liberal quoting, the user will then have no reason to visit the original source. After all, they already have most of the critical information.

    While certainly grey blogs don't pose the same threat or raise the same concerns as spam blogs and other content scrapers, the cause for concern is clear. Even though blogging is about sharing and reusing information, excessive sharing threatens the authors penning the original content. The tale of the goose laying the golden egg springs to mind as, quite simply, greed can be the blogging world's biggest enemy.

    A Separation of Degrees

    What makes this issue so difficult to address, and so difficult to write about, is that it's not so much about gray blogs, but rather, various shades of grey blogs. The difference between someone simply quoting blogs and someone trying to tweak the system is not a clear cut matter, but a separation of degrees.

    Quoting, even liberal quoting, is expected by blogs. It's a part of researching a story and covering ongoing stories as well as sharing information. If done properly, it can not only be used to create a new work, but also drive valuable traffic to the original site. In the blogging world, being the source is often a badge of honor.

    However, basing your entire site, or even a larger percentage of it, on quoted content is viewed differently. Being a source in a larger article is one thing, but having your content be the majority of the article on another site another. What distinguishes one from the other is unclear at best. There are no math formulas or systems for determining what is right or what is too much.

    More confusing still, everyone has a different idea of what constitutes content theft. With Creative Commons Licenses being very common, it's obvious some feel that copying an entire work is acceptable so long as attribution is affixed. Others would place the boundary well within what is usually considered fair use.

    The challenge becomes to strike a balance and set some kind of guideline that is compatible with copyright law, acceptable under the current code of blogging ethics but also able to appease the concerns many bloggers share over grey sites.

    A Proposed Solution

    When I first looked at the problem, I was tempted to set guidelines by which a blogger should not get more than X percent of their overall content from other sites or use more than Y lines from another entry.
    • OH NOES! (Score:2, Funny)

      by Spy der Mann (805235)
      You forgot to link the original source! You... you... PLAGIARIST! *GASP*
      • You forgot to link the original source! You... you... PLAGIARIST! *GASP*

        Here is the link. [slashdot.org]
        • I tried to click the link...

          but then it redirected me to *ANOTHER* copy of the document, without link. But below that was another link, which redirected me to... *ANOTHER* copy of the document, without link. But below that was another link, which redirected me to... *ANOTHER* copy of the document, without link. But below that was another link, which redirected me to...

          O.O GAHHH!

    • The author of this article is extremely confused, but it's a pretty common confusion, so maybe it's worth pointing it out:

      However, basing your entire site, or even a larger percentage of it, on quoted content is viewed differently. Being a source in a larger article is one thing, but having your content be the majority of the article on another site another. What distinguishes one from the other is unclear at best. There are no math formulas or systems for determining what is right or what is too much.

  • Because they're totally gonna return it later.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:52PM (#15382098)
    Nobody can read the whole internet. Nobody. So what people do is they rely on others to pick the interesting pieces worth reading and go from there.

    But there are 2 ways to do it: Summing up the content and providing a link, or ripping a few lines out of context and then mentioning in the fine print where they're from.

    While the first is something I do agree with, the second stinks of "I don't have content but I want visitors, but if I hand out my sources my visitors might go there instead of to me."

    So while I'm all for gathering info and making it available to your readers, I'm also very much against the "Readers Digest" approach: Snipping out what I deem valuable, copying it to my page and giving half-hearted credit to the real author. Linking is cool. Copy-paste-blogging is just lame.

    And I'd really wish this message could be sent to those who do it just that way.
    • by briancarnell (94247) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:59PM (#15382170) Homepage
      "But there are 2 ways to do it: Summing up the content and providing a link, or ripping a few lines out of context and then mentioning in the fine print where they're from. ...

      So while I'm all for gathering info and making it available to your readers, I'm also very much against the "Readers Digest" approach: Snipping out what I deem valuable, copying it to my page and giving half-hearted credit to the real author. Linking is cool. Copy-paste-blogging is just lame."

      Yes, some bloggers do the equivalent of e-mail threads where they copy an entire piece, blockquote it and then add one or two sentences additionally. That's stupid.

      But there are reasons to quote extensively from materials provided you're offering extensive commentary in return (and giving the proper credit up front to the author you're quoting from).

      1. Summing up the content is not always that easy to do. I've seen plenty of mainstream media reports where the two paragraph summary completely misrepresents what was actually said. Where possible, I try to quote as extensively as possible precisely to avoid the appearance of mischaracterizing someone's argument.

      2. Linking is great but my experience in about 10 years of writing for my own web site is that about 80% of the things you link to will be 404 within two years. Not to mention sites like the BBC's where if you go back to a story a couple years later it will likely have been completely rewritten without any sort of notice that changes were made post-publication to the text.
    • While the first is something I do agree with, the second stinks of "I don't have content but I want visitors, but if I hand out my sources my visitors might go there instead of to me."

      There's a really great article about just what you're talking about over at...

      Oh wait, that site no longer exists. The content has been retracted by the copyright holder.

      How many web sites do you suppose will continue to host content for the entire duration of the copyright period? After the expiration of which, we'll be a

      • Just because it is done to me doesn't justify my doing it. And bloggers themselves go down the "for profit" venue with google ads.

        And yes, having the original article at hand saves you from history being rewritten. But until it is so, credits where credits are due. If and only if the original changes it's time to rewrite your own article, stating that THERE was the original content, the original content changed, HERE is what it was like, now, reader, pick for yourself who you prefer to believe, me or them.

        W
  • How ironic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:54PM (#15382124)
    How ironic this should be on slashdot, given that slashdot story submitters have a nasty habit of simply quoting an entire block of text for the article summary.

    For example:

    • the story directly below this one on Python programming
    • The story about nuclear reactors
    • The story about Wired Magazine's release of AT&T stuff

    Sometimes the block of text is preceeded by "from the article:", but half the time, it is presented as comments from the story submitter, and the Story Approvers (I refuse to call them editors) do absolutely squat to correct it.

    • Thanks for pointing that out; I'm glad I'm not the only one who has noticed the trend. Regardless of what the editors are doing, if the submitter is not going to go to any effort to summarize the article, what's the point in having submitters at all? I can get headlines and blurbs from Google News or any of a number of other sources.
  • Quoting is good! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kelson (129150) * on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:57PM (#15382141) Homepage Journal
    Given the volatile nature of the web today, there's an excellent chance that the page you link to today will be gone 6 months from now. If you want your post to have any value in the future, it needs to be more than just "Hey, look here [example.com]!" (Although except in the case of the shortest source articles, copy+pasting the entire page is bad form.)

    Of course, for your post to have any value today, just quoting isn't enough. At that point, it may as well be a link. You have to provide some commentary, maybe your opinion, maybe additional information, or maybe you're just using the quote as a springboard to go off on your own topic.

    It comes down to a balance: are the quotes there to support and/or provide context for your own words? Are they there as a summary so that someone wandering by a year from now knows what people are talking about? Or is it little more than an unauthorized mirror?
  • The fix is silly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Monday May 22, 2006 @01:58PM (#15382162) Homepage
    I thought the proposed "solution" in the article was just stupid. The idea that somehow the law should police millions of blogs by applying some kind of complex formula to determine if they are in the wrong is just not feasable. Even if blogs are the worst source of plagerism there is really nothing that can be done about it, except raise public awareness.
  • Bzzzzt! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tx (96709) on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:01PM (#15382189) Journal
    even when the source is attributed.

    Its not plagiarism then is it?

    - Whiney Mac Fanboy

    (If you get the joke, you'll mod this up)
  • Remember the game where a bunch of people would gather in a circle and then one person would whisper a phrase in the ear of the person next them, and then they'd repeat the phrase to then next person until it got all the way around the circle -- but, more often than not, completely changed from the original?

    Especially if the source is attributed, I have no problem with block quoting the predecessor source.

    • The game was called Telephone.

      People don't play it anymore. There's a new game, where one person yells at another person through a box and the 2nd person hears something totally different. It's called Cellphone. Or drive-through. I hate those games.

    • Remember the game where a bunch of people would gather in a circle and then one person would whisper a phrase in the ear of the person next them, and then they'd repeat the phrase to then next person until it got all the way around the circle -- but, more often than not, completely changed from the original?

      Especially if the source is attributed, I have no problem with block quoting the predecessor source.

      I have no problems with attributed blockquotes - but the game of 'telephone' is really, really annoyi


  • So I don't know why a website would be devoted to doing it.

  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:03PM (#15382216) Homepage Journal
    I'm an anti-copyright advocate who sees more power in releasing my information for free to the ether of the Internet. Not only do I not copyright my blog posts, e-books and music, I openly request others to copy it and even put their own name on it. I've realized that once I put something into easily copied form, it will be copied. It might be partially used, fully mimiced, or completely turned upside down, yet I've also found that the more I am copied, the more people tend to find out that I am the original author.

    For me as a writer, I love to know that people are reading me and replying to me -- that is my "profit" in the short term -- reader input. I tend to make up my own words that I write with, in order to see who might be copying me fully. I then look at what people say about their "writings", too. One such word I created was unanimocracy, but I've invented a few other phrases that are easily searched, too.

    I believe the best way to "fix" plagiarism isn't to make it more illegal or immoral, but to work on a free market and open system where content creators can submit their creations to be cataloged as "the first." Let others copy it, but Google or another toolbar can easily flag a new creation as "very similar to another." Imagine if the Google toolbar had a "% of originality" for every site you visit (or every paragraph to highlight with your mouse). This could work for lyrics, guitar tabs, writings, opinion, news articles, etc.

    Plagiarism is "OK" is some circles -- do a Google News search and see how many big named media outlets just regurgitate each others' news. Boring. Bloggers do the same thing, but many put a unique spin on the original writer's ideas.

    I love when people plagiarize me. In the long run it builds my credibility even if they don't reference me as the original writer. I'd rather find free market solutions (such as the one I outlined above) rather than find penalties for the copying. If someone discovers that the person they respect didn't write the content on their own, the market fixes this by making the reader not read the plagiariser anymore. Easy solution.

    In the long run, trying to protect your creative works will be a losing process. I use my previous creations to gain new customers who appreciate the information that I don't share. That is the product/service I sell, and I use my years of writing to show a history of original opinion and beliefs. Anything I write for public consumption is merely a marketing tool to get people to hire me for real face-time -- I could care less if someone else found a better way to make money with my thoughts. Most of my thoughts are based on a lifetime of reading and thinking about what others say.

    My blog network forum is based completely on the comments of others -- I even pay my readers who give me the best comments. Their input on my writings is what gives me MORE information to sell at a higher price to those willing to pay for my knowledge. Why should I stop others from using my works to create new opinions that I can learn from?
    • by Senjutsu (614542) on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:19PM (#15382371)
      I'm an anti-copyright advocate who sees more power in releasing my information for free to the ether of the Internet. Not only do I not copyright my blog posts, e-books and music, I openly request others to copy it and even put their own name on it. I've realized that once I put something into easily copied form, it will be copied. It might be partially used, fully mimiced, or completely turned upside down, yet I've also found that the more I am copied, the more people tend to find out that I am the original author. For me as a writer, I love to know that people are reading me and replying to me -- that is my "profit" in the short term -- reader input. I tend to make up my own words that I write with, in order to see who might be copying me fully. I then look at what people say about their "writings", too. One such word I created was unanimocracy, but I've invented a few other phrases that are easily searched, too. I believe the best way to "fix" plagiarism isn't to make it more illegal or immoral, but to work on a free market and open system where content creators can submit their creations to be cataloged as "the first." Let others copy it, but Google or another toolbar can easily flag a new creation as "very similar to another." Imagine if the Google toolbar had a "% of originality" for every site you visit (or every paragraph to highlight with your mouse). This could work for lyrics, guitar tabs, writings, opinion, news articles, etc. Plagiarism is "OK" is some circles -- do a Google News search and see how many big named media outlets just regurgitate each others' news. Boring. Bloggers do the same thing, but many put a unique spin on the original writer's ideas. I love when people plagiarize me. In the long run it builds my credibility even if they don't reference me as the original writer. I'd rather find free market solutions (such as the one I outlined above) rather than find penalties for the copying. If someone discovers that the person they respect didn't write the content on their own, the market fixes this by making the reader not read the plagiariser anymore. Easy solution. In the long run, trying to protect your creative works will be a losing process. I use my previous creations to gain new customers who appreciate the information that I don't share. That is the product/service I sell, and I use my years of writing to show a history of original opinion and beliefs. Anything I write for public consumption is merely a marketing tool to get people to hire me for real face-time -- I could care less if someone else found a better way to make money with my thoughts. Most of my thoughts are based on a lifetime of reading and thinking about what others say. My blog network forum is based completely on the comments of others -- I even pay my readers who give me the best comments. Their input on my writings is what gives me MORE information to sell at a higher price to those willing to pay for my knowledge. Why should I stop others from using my works to create new opinions that I can learn from?
      • I'm an anti-copyright advocate who sees more power in releasing my information for free to the ether of the Internet. Not only do I not copyright my blog posts, e-books and music, I openly request others to copy it and even put their own name on it. I've realized that once I put something into easily copied form, it will be copied. It might be partially used, fully mimiced, or completely turned upside down, yet I've also found that the more I am copied, the more people tend to find out that I am the origina
    • Plagiarism is "OK" is some circles -- do a Google News search and see how many big named media outlets just regurgitate each others' news.

      Could this be the fact that there are really just a few major media producers (Reuters, AP, UPI), and a whole lot of "middlemen" that buy that content wholesale and deliver it to the consumer (with the mark-up being advertising)?

      If this theory is true, and I suspect that to a large part it is, then "customer-facing" media outlets like CNN, Fox, NBC, etc., are all really j
    • Not so sure (Score:3, Interesting)

      by slashflood (697891)
      My blog network forum is based completely on the comments of others -- I even pay my readers who give me the best comments. Their input on my writings is what gives me MORE information to sell at a higher price to those willing to pay for my knowledge. Why should I stop others from using my works to create new opinions that I can learn from?

      In the long run, trying to protect your creative works will be a losing process. I use my previous creations to gain new customers who appreciate the information that
  • No, it's not plagiarism if you attribute the source. However, there is the larger issue of TEXT PIRACY. Where you steal some other author's ideas and promulgate them while not giving the advertisers' their revenue. This is such a bad problem that I predict that within six months the entire internet will be shutthefuckdown, and THEN who will the bloggers steal their ideas from? Books?

    We need a way to stop these text pirates. How about replacing the easily copy-pasted HTML currently used by most sites wi
  • by stlhawkeye (868951)
    I usually only quote large chunks of somebody else when I'm responding, criticizing, or adding onto the existing body of work. I always include links to the original article, and clearly indicate the quoted section. None of this is out of any duty to academic rigor, I just think it's helpful to my reader (or readers, if anybody besides me reads it), to have the original to view in context. In fact, I get a little miffed when sites to which I link later re-organize or archive the material. Or, even worse
  • Competition? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 31415926535897 (702314) on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:09PM (#15382273) Journal
    From TFA: "The idea being that they can create a much larger volume of content if they only have to write a small portion of it. Users will simply visit the gray blogs since they are able to provide so much more information and, due to the use of liberal quoting, the user will then have no reason to visit the original source. After all, they already have most of the critical information." (wait, was that okay?)

    First off, if they're attributing their source, it is not plagarism.

    It seems like the media might get pissed off that bloggers will extract the most important information from articles and post that with some (maybe-not-so-) insightful commentary, rendering the rest of their article impotent. For instance, when I read the newspaper in the morning, I've noticed that I can get most of the details I want without ever having to turn the newspaper page--it's always in front (and they designed it this way). Sure, occasionally there are some details I want further in the article, and if it's a good article on a good subject, I'll keep reading. Anyway, in a sense, these bloggers are becoming competition for journalists using the journalist's material. I feel that if this is the case, journalists need to improve so that most or all of their articles are relevant instead of puffing up their word count.

    But, I personally don't see bloggers as competition, even if journalists do. In general, journalists provide fact, and the blogger provides opinion based around the fact. Sure, there are many OpEd pieces in newspapers, but the blogger is merely presenting their point of view on the original text (even if they can't assemble enough coherent thought to "outquote" the original article).

  • RepublicanBlogs (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Buzz_Litebeer (539463)
    I hate Republican hate blogs that are out there and focus on half of one side of a story to make it look as bad as possible for anyone other than themselves.

    The worst part, is that they link to themselves over and over and over and over and over and over worse than a hick family tree were all the grandmas grandpas, children and grand children descended fromt he same 2 people.

    Take a recent look on google for "iran dress code" and you will see hundreds of Republican blogs on the subject, all citing other repu
    • Re:RepublicanBlogs (Score:5, Informative)

      by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:48PM (#15382609) Journal
      It works for both sides.

      I hate Democrat hate blogs that are out there and focus on half of one side of a story to make it look as bad as possible for anyone other than themselves.

      The worst part, is that they link to themselves over and over and over and over and over and over worse than a hick family tree were all the grandmas grandpas, children and grand children descended fromt he same 2 people.

      Take a recent look on google for "stop iraq war" and you will see hundreds of Democrat blogs on the subject, all citing other Democrat blogs as the definitive and truthful source, when in the end the story was put up as a sensational tabloid article with no truth behind it at all.

      Bloggers are not the new news media, they are just a bunch of people who have found out a place were people will read their opinions, nod their heads, and help them mentally wack themselves off at how awsome they are and how many people they can get to agree.

      Plagarism isnt even the half of it, these people cite sources that cite sources to the point were it would be difficult to find out were the original story came from, its like a horrible game of telephone gone awry, or the before mentioned incestuous family forgetting whose kid little jenny is.


      It is all apart of the demagoguery used by both sides.
  • Blogs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by linvir (970218) on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:13PM (#15382308)
    This is how my usual Google trail goes, using a research session for my university course as an example.

    First site:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2005/05/19/cuba_switchin g_to_gn.html [boingboing.net]

    Cuba switching to GNU/Linux
    Cuba is switching away from Windows to GNU/Linux. I have to say that I was a little surprised when I was last in Cuba and saw many of the PCs running Windows.
    Cuba's director of information technology, Roberto del Puerto, says that Cuba already has approximately 1500 computers running on Linux, and is working towards replacing Windows on all state owned computers.
    Link [slashdot.org]
    Which leads me to: http://linux.slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org]
    Tony Montana writes "According to several [yahoo.com] news [cio-today.com] sites [theinquirer.net] the government of Cuba is dumping Windows in favour of Linux. Cuba's director of information technology, Roberto del Puerto, says that Cuba already has approximately 1500 computers running on Linux, and is working towards replacing Windows on all state owned computers."
    And the only link out of those that's still up is http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=23300 [theinquirer.net], which contains only:
    ONE OF the last bastions of revolutionary socialism, Cuba is to switch all its computers over to Linux to counter the influence of the Evil Capitalistic American lackey Microsoft.

    According to the government daily, Juventud Rebelde, Roberto del Puerto, director of the state office of information technology, said his office was working on a legal framework that would allow the replacement of Windows through-out Cuba. Cuba already has 1,500 computers using Linux. Although what flavour is not clear.

    More here [yahoo.com].

    So all this plagiarised summarisation bullshit leads me only to http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050517/tc_afp/cubaco mputersitlinux [yahoo.com]
    Sorry, the page you requested was not found.

    And before I know it, 15 minutes are gone and all I've learned is that 1500 computers have been switched. Thank you plagiarism. And the beatiful irony of it all is that I'm contributing to it with this post!

    • Re:Blogs (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JahToasted (517101)
      How is that plagiarism? They are citing their sources. One of the sources took down the page.

      If they had have plagiarised they would have copy and pasted the entire article, and not attributed the source. You would have gotten all the information and would not have seen the 404 error. Yeah they probably should have all linked to the yahoo article, but that wouldn't change the fact that yahoo took down the page.

      You should be saying damn you for not plagiarising, or even better, damn you yahoo for removin

  • by IflyRC (956454) on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:18PM (#15382357)
    "How Opal Mehta Plagarised, Got Busted, and Got Kicked out of Harvard"
  • The article three down from this one [slashdot.org] contains the entire content of the article that that it links to, swiped verbatim.

    Actually, what's really ironic about that is that it's under the section "Your Rights Online".

  • Self Plagiarism (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gatzke (2977) on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:33PM (#15382483) Homepage Journal
    You can even steal from yourself, although it is more like unethical publication.

    http://facpub.stjohns.edu/~roigm/plagiarism/Self%2 0plagiarism.html [stjohns.edu]

    Even if you are the author, you may not own the copyright. This is true for journals and major publishers, so you are not supposed to recycle text.

  • First, although unethical, do you really care anymore? And, c'mon, their bloggers - jeez - whadda expect? If bloggers really cared all that much, they'd just PDF their stuff or use gifs.

    That said, by-and-large, folks that care are saavy enough to filter sites that have original and interesting content versus ones that consolidate (or even steal) news or ideas. (And they often choose the latter for convenience and they don't care).

    Besides, if I'm reading a blog on one site and they quote another one extensiv
  • If somebody was mirroring an entire site and skimming off the advertising clicks, I'd agree that the source has reason to complain.

    But the real reason why people go to aggregator sites is because they are often more interesting than the sites they quote. I almost always at least check out the sites referenced by interesting articles on aggregator sites. If the aggregated article is representative of the content, then I end up reading more, and often the blog ends up on my regular list of bookmarks, and I
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Monday May 22, 2006 @02:41PM (#15382549) Homepage
    Usually the bigger the blogger is, the less original content they produce. The same is also true for many of them on the lower ends. It's absurd to see the popularity of a lot of these bloggers who, in the words of Pajamas Media, "take on a subject" by quoting a lot of someone else's text and adding a little bit of extra stuff to it. That's called a few casual remarks, not really "taking on a subject."
  • Firstly, I think part of this trend is that people mistake copying and pasting for scholarship. It's not. Just because you copied the juicy parts of an article into a "blockquote" tag does not mean that you've helped your reader understand an issue. All you've done is shown them what someone else said. Their interpretation of it might be completely different from your own--in fact, by removing the quotation from the context, your readers might interpret the quotation in exactly the opposite fashion that
  • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Monday May 22, 2006 @03:24PM (#15382924) Homepage

    I'm in the habit of quoting large portions of articles, or even the entire article, for a purely practical reason: the mutability of Web pages. I've lost track of how often I've made a comment about something in an article, only to have a lot of people asking what I was talking about because the article said no such thing. On looking at the article again, the passage I was referring to had either been removed or altered to say something it hadn't said originally. The only way I have to combat this is to preserve a copy of the article as I originally read it in a place not subject to editing by the article's owner.

    I'd note this after-the-fact rewriting tends to be most common where the original article contained egregiously and provably incorrect statements and the authors got called on the matter and now want to never have said that (as opposed to wanting to admit they mis-stated).

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