Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Bloggers are the New Plagiarism

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the i-think-i've-heard-that-before dept.

326

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."

cancel ×

326 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Bzzzzt! (5, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382061)

even when the source is attributed.

Its not plagiarism then is it?

Re:Bzzzzt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382103)

No, it isn't, but what do you expect from the plagiarism-merchants over at Plagiarism Today?

Re:Bzzzzt! (3, Insightful)

DingerX (847589) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382142)

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 sometimes. Slashdot links to the blog; the blog contains pretty much the whole news item, and you're done.

Re:Bzzzzt! (2, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382212)

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! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382445)

No it isn't. It's not stealing of any sort. It's simple copyright enfringement. Please do not fall into the *AA trap of labeling this as "stealing."

Re:Bzzzzt! (4, Informative)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382229)

Well no... If you cite the source it is not plagiarism; so much as it simple copyright infringment.

Re:Bzzzzt! (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382235)

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.

Going to the Original Article (1)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382306)

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....

funny (0, Redundant)

not goods (937984) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382330)

you people who modded this insightful surely recognized that it's funny, yea? block quotes from the original post? am i alone?

Re:funny (1)

NorbMan (829255) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382383)

Modding it insightful is part of the joke.

Re:Bzzzzt! (1)

tmortn (630092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382237)

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! (4, Informative)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382239)

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.

Re:Bzzzzt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382241)

I think that is copyright infringment, but not plagiarism


plagiarism
          n 1: a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else
                    and is presented as being your own work


(emphasis mine) that part of the definition disqualifies it from being plagiarism

Re:Bzzzzt! (1)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382402)

psssst!! you didn't list which dictionary source you got that definition from... PLAGIARIZER!!! You've presented this definition as your're own work, please meet my kettle Mr. Black.

Re:Bzzzzt! (1)

Artichoke (34549) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382475)

Er, sorry, but no. The poster didn't cite the quote, but the formatting implicitly indicates that it comes from a dictionary, in other word from a third-party, authoritative source.

Re:Bzzzzt! (2, Informative)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382251)

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 like this:

plagiarism, which is the uncredited use (both intentional and unintentional) of somebody else's words or ideas. [purdue.edu]

A cited reference, regardless of size, is not an 'uncredited use'. What you describe may be a copyright violation, but doesn't appear to be plagarism.

Re:Bzzzzt! (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382252)

That's copyright infringement, not plagiarism.

Re:Bzzzzt! (1)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382257)

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.

Re:Bzzzzt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382260)

Maaaannnn... google must be in trouble, linking you all that information. And /. as well for that matter, i mean linking to other peoples stuff. What a crime. Cited quotations are basicaly the same as a link cept it saves you a click. Information organizers do this all the time, if a blogger fills this need then good for him. He is getting clicks because of his ability to organize information not becuase of the content. Would you outlaw links so that people have to goto the source?

Re:Bzzzzt! (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382270)

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.

Plagiarism != Copyright Infringement (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382287)

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 usually considered "copyright infringement". If you profit by taking someone else's content, properly citing it, and putting it on your blog, you will be guilty of copyright infringement[1], not plagiarism.

All of the profs in college said the same thing: If you cite your references, you'll never get in trouble with the Honor Code (i.e. College's plagiarism/cheating policy). You [the student] may get no credit if you use JUST other people's work, but you'll never get in trouble for plagiarism.

-- Qubit

[1] Assuming that the person retains full copyright and doesn't use a Creative Commons license or similar...

plagerism != copyright infringement (1)

HighOrbit (631451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382455)

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 unattribuated work as your own (which may also be copyright infringement). In your description, with the attribution, it is straight up copyright infringment.

The problem at that point is drawing the line between fair use quotation and out-and-out copying.

Re:Bzzzzt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382470)

Very poor english in the title

Re:Bzzzzt! (1)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382180)

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.

*Maybe* copyright violation, but not plagiarism (5, Informative)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382181)

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.

Re:*Maybe* copyright violation, but not plagiarism (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382351)

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.

Re:*Maybe* copyright violation, but not plagiarism (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382418)

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.

Nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382425)

That's your definition of plagiarism only. Show me a reputable news source, professional journal, or educational institution which does not include the overuse of the source material as plagiarism. Yes, a blogger can probably get away with it, because people like you don't consider it plagiarism, but a professional newswriter, scholar, or researcher would be summarily drummed out of their field for plagarism for even using half as much of the source material as many bloggers use.

Re:Bzzzzt! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382182)

Has any comment begining with "Bzzzzt!" (or ending with "Nuff said") ever not been wrong?

There are rules for handling source material, of which crediting the author is only one. It's not appropriate to copy long swathes of text just because you threw in a citation somewhere.

Re:Bzzzzt! (3, Funny)

deesine (722173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382202)

"It's not appropriate to copy long swathes of text just because you threw in a citation somewhere."

Sure it is.

Re:Bzzzzt! (1)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382293)

Has any comment begining with "Bzzzzt!" (or ending with "Nuff said") ever not been wrong?

There are rules for handling source material, of which crediting the author is only one. It's not appropriate to copy long swathes of text just because you threw in a citation somewhere.


I made no mention of whether it's appropriate or not - just that its not plagiarism if you cite the source - passing off the work as your own is one of the things that seperates copyright infringement from plagiarism.

'nuff said ;-)

Re:Bzzzzt! (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382191)

If it is, all scientific papers are.

Re:Bzzzzt! (3, Informative)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382385)

No. Most often, scientific papers cite other papers to back up an assertion in the manuscript. Simply stating that protein X is involved in pathway Y is not always enough. You have to back it up with a citation of an accepted manuscript that shows data supporting that assertion. You don't really see directly quoted material.

Re:Bzzzzt! (1)

badran (973386) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382311)

good point... I guess the author didn't read that part during the ctrl+c ctrl+v or select and insert ;).

This is plagiarism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382408)

Every day. All day long, here you are, acting as though people give a fuck about your opinion. Aren't you tired of having no life?

Notice how I didn't attribute the source?

You know (5, Funny)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382062)

I've seen the results of this study before somewhere...

Plagiarism mey be necessary (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382064)

I hope somebody has quickly plagiarised their article because their server appears to be already slashdotted.

yes, the internet makes this easy (3, Funny)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382066)

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.

I must agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382145)

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.

come'on. It's funny.

Re:I must agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382277)

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.

come'on. It's funny.


No it's not.

Re:I must agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382294)

I disagree, it is not easy to copy and paste, and with the proliferation of blogs, on-line stories, etc., realizing and detecting inversely proportionately becomes easier.

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

Re:I must agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382325)

It is not easy to copy and paste, and with the proliferation of blogs, on-line stories, etc., realizing and detecting inversely proportionately becomes easier.

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

Now you sir, have a good sense of Humor.

GOATSE BLESS AMERICA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382067)

I am a goat

Slashdotted already? (-1, Offtopic)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382071)

First post!

You can say that again... (4, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382081)

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.

Re:You can say that again... (1)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382258)

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.
This guy is so right!

Here's the article text... (5, Informative)

enitime (964946) | more than 8 years ago | (#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. All ideas along those lines, however, quickly fell through.

First, some sites like Engadget, gets a majority of their information from other sources and, correctly, have never been accused of content theft. (Correction: Engadget does write their own copy but reuses many photographs. I apologize for the misunderstanding.). Second, given the varied lengths of posts and methods of reuse available, almost any guideline system would quickly run afoul of fair use and, in other cases, would permit reuse that would almost certainly be questionable. Any attempt to work around these factors would complicate a rule that, supposedly, had the sole benefit of being simple.

In lieu of a hard and fast rule, much like the fair use provision itself, we begin to seek out a framework for determining if a reuse is ethical or not. This framework would contain the following elements, many of which are found in the standard fair use provision:

      1. The amount of reused content compared to the amount of original content.
      2. The amount of reused content in relation to the original work.
      3. The frequency with which large blocks of text are used.
      4. What is gained by the original author.
      5. Whether permission was granted in advance, either through a CC license or direct permission.
      6. Whether attribution was provided or not.
      7. Other indications as to the intent of the one reusing the work, including excessive advertisements, links to one's own sites and other forms of profiteering or over the top promotion.

(Note: As with everything I do like this, these elements are a draft and are open to both comment and revision.)

Such a system, while not perfect or easy, would provide guidelines both for pursuing content theft and reusing others works. Though it might be subjective in many respects, it does give people pause to think about what they are doing beforehand and at least some standard of conduct to follow.

Conclusion

With file sharing, blogging and content trading are more popular than ever, copyright has become something of a dirty word. Many people are obsessed not with how to best disperse information and participate in this sharing revolution, but with how much they can get away with legally and ethically.

In a parallel to the famous John F. Kennedy quote, we need to stop asking what others can do for us, and ask what we can do for them. Rather than simply wondering what we can get away with or how we can get the most for the least amount of work, we need to figure out how we can best participate in this world-wide discussion.

If the ethics of the blogging world are constantly abused to promote the gain of others, high quality writers will have little motivation to post their works on-line and, as the well slowly dries up, there will be less and less work available for either reuse or for simply reading.

It's not enough to share, we have to support and reward good content creators. It's the only way to keep the revolution alive.

----

(Turns out it actually is Slashdotted. DAMN!)

OH NOES! (1, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382120)

You forgot to link the original source! You... you... PLAGIARIST! *GASP*

Re:OH NOES! (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382168)

You forgot to link the original source! You... you... PLAGIARIST! *GASP*

Here is the link. [slashdot.org]

Re:Here's the article text... (1)

jfern (115937) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382138)

Google plagiarised it, too.

Link [66.102.7.104]

Re:Here's the article text... (1)

doom (14564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382398)

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.
It hardly matters whether someone using a quote is doing something creative with it, or taking the trouble to add some additional information. The question of whether it's copyright infringement has to do with whether you hurt the financial interests of the copyright holder (i.e. the party with a temporary, government granted, limited monopoly on the material). Quoting for purposes of review is expressly allowed as part of the "fair use" provision. A magazine could run a regular feature composed of nothing but quotations of recent books, and provided they were relatively brief quotations, that's perfectly okay, even if there's no commentary added to it. A customary rule of thumb is less than 500 words, though there's nothing written into the law about that as far as I know.

So, if you attribute the quote, you're not engaged in plagarism. If you've only quoted a small portion of the work, you're not engaged in copyright infringement. There are indeed gray areas in that boundary, but the situation is by no means as hard to deal with as the author makes it sound.

One thing I've wondered about though... on the web it's relatively easy to quote *entire* works. Is this okay provided you pass through the advertising that originally accompanied them, and also provide a link back to the original site? Note that in the new context the work might appear in a frame surrounded by other material the original publisher might not like: negative comments, additional ads, etc...

It's not called 'theft' (1)

muellerr1 (868578) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382084)

Because they're totally gonna return it later.

"gray area" (-1, Troll)

_PimpDaddy7_ (415866) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382090)

In the section entitled "Block quotes by the Dozen" the author mentions the so-called "gray area".

Yah, it's that BULLSHIT? :)

On-topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382094)

Hey, the site is slashdotted. Will someone please post the text of the article here?

Thanks!

Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382097)

Creationists are the new plagiarizers [slashdot.org]

The new "Reader's Digest"? (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:The new "Reader's Digest"? (5, Interesting)

briancarnell (94247) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382170)

"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.

Re:The new "Reader's Digest"? (1)

Grrr (16449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382276)

Agreed - and your message is often understood, but ignored. Having had lots of free content "borrowed" by others, it doesn't usually seem to be the case that they're moved to include attribution or stop editing someone else's creative work or refrain from "repurposing" it with abandon. A sizable number of people just don't want to stop doing whatever they want with anything they find on the 'net.

From TFA:
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.
...like many US newspapers these days.

<grrr />

Re:The new "Reader's Digest"? (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382378)

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 able to freely copy and distribute the Public Domain works? If someone doesn't mirror and host those articles, chances are quite good that they'll simply disappear forever when the copyright holder decides they don't have an interest in hosting them any longer.

Also, it's entirely possible for articles to be modified after they've been posted, read, and blogged about by people who have an interest in making their resposes to the original heard by others. News changes to suit the powers that be, and all traces of the original story are destroyed. Orwell predicted this in 1984. This happened quite a bit after Katrina, and after 9/11, and it's very difficult to notice or prove that it happens, unless the site's editor scrupulously notes changes that were made once the article first was posted, and this is often not done. A copy of an article isn't plagiarism, it's a historical record that an article existed as it did at a particular point in time. Of course, the copier can also modify the article to reword it to suit his or her needs as well, but if you are going to refer to an article someone else wrote, you'd probably like to have some assurance that it'll be accessible in the form you first encountered it in so that your commentary still makes sense when others read it.

And last but not least, plagiarism is a two-way street. "Journalists" have stolen blog entries, in whole or part, and have sold them to news syndicates as their own work. They're doing it for profit; bloggers by and large do what they do for free, because they have an interest in intiating a conversation about the article. Getting people talking isn't really such a bad thing, unless you're mainly interested in mind control or advertising revenue.

Re:The new "Reader's Digest"? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382469)

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.

What I'm looking for in anything I read is information. I don't look for an opinion. I have one myself already, thank you very much, and in case I don't have one yet, I prefer having information to make up my own.

Err... (0, Flamebait)

consonant (896763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382099)

So? What's the problem?

This could be a good thing, like this slashdotter here [jaduncan.net] , who's mirrored the entire Mark Klein statement from Wired.com.

Granted, each example may not be that of mirroring, or even a fisking, but if the source is attributed properly..

SO WHAT????

Re:Err... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382139)

The problem is that, especially with the internet, it's no problem to actually link to an article instead of copying it. So why copy? Why create redundancy? It's fine to hold a copy at home, in case your source suddenly "vanishes", so you can actually recreate it, but as long as the source stands, why should you copy it instead of linking to the person who actually created the information?

Re:Err... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382359)

I had an issue with plagerism a couple of months ago, but it seemed to me the owner of the content was being foolish. I have a gaming related blog. I found this great article about a walk-through of a specific game (and it had about 5 URLS at the bottom pointing to other sites). I only copy/pasted the 5 URLS and wrote above the text "originally by author Y taken from http://www.sitex.com/ [sitex.com] ". I figured this was okay, since I did note the original author, I didn't copy the article, and I even put a link back to his site.

about a week later, I got a nasty post on my blog, telling me I had "stolen his content". About a week after that (to quit the guy's whining), I took the links down and wrote another article.

My site is fairly popular and at the time, was giving him a pretty good amount of traffic (about 5000 visitors/day, when it was up).

Who did this really hurt? I got some interesting content for my readers, he got more traffic and the credit for the URLS.

Even if you copy part of an article, if you give credit back to the original author, It should not be considered plagerism.

Re-using large blocks of text from the original... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382100)

What, you mean like this?

Article text since it's slashdotted.

    The "New" Plagiarism

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. All ideas along those lines, however, quickly fell through.

First, some sites like Engadget, gets a majority of their information from other sources and, correctly, have never been accused of content theft. (Correction: Engadget does write their own copy but reuses many photographs. I apologize for the misunderstanding.). Second, given the varied lengths of posts and methods of reuse available, almost any guideline system would quickly run afoul of fair use and, in other cases, would permit reuse that would almost certainly be questionable. Any attempt to work around these factors would complicate a rule that, supposedly, had the sole benefit of being simple.

In lieu of a hard and fast rule, much like the fair use provision itself, we begin to seek out a framework for determining if a reuse is ethical or not. This framework would contain the following elements, many of which are found in the standard fair use provision:

      1. The amount of reused content compared to the amount of original content.
      2. The amount of reused content in relation to the original work.
      3. The frequency with which large blocks of text are used.
      4. What is gained by the original author.
      5. Whether permission was granted in advance, either through a CC license or direct permission.
      6. Whether attribution was provided or not.
      7. Other indications as to the intent of the one reusing the work, including excessive advertisements, links to one's own sites and other forms of profiteering or over the top promotion.

(Note: As with everything I do like this, these elements are a draft and are open to both comment and revision.)

Such a system, while not perfect or easy, would provide guidelines both for pursuing content theft and reusing others works. Though it might be subjective in many respects, it does give people pause to think about what they are doing beforehand and at least some standard of conduct to follow.

Conclusion

With file sharing, blogging and content trading are more popular than ever, copyright has become something of a dirty word. Many people are obsessed not with how to best disperse information and participate in this sharing revolution, but with how much they can get away with legally and ethically.

In a parallel to the famous John F. Kennedy quote, we need to stop asking what others can do for us, and ask what we can do for them. Rather than simply wondering what we can get away with or how we can get the most for the least amount of work, we need to figure out how we can best participate in this world-wide discussion.

If the ethics of the blogging world are constantly abused to promote the gain of others, high quality writers will have little motivation to post their works on-line and, as the well slowly dries up, there will be less and less work available for either reuse or for simply reading.

It's not enough to share, we have to support and reward good content creators. It's the only way to keep the revolution alive.

Technorati Tags: Plagiarism, Content Theft, Copyright Infringement, Copyright Law, Scraping, Creative Commons

Obligatory (0, Redundant)

Khammurabi (962376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382118)

Hey, I just read this on slashdot:
mjeppsen [freshdv.com] writes "PlagiarismToday offers a thought-provoking article [plagiarismtoday.com] 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."

How ironic (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:How ironic (1)

jmonty (852206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382333)

Not to forget the annoyance of getting to TFA only to find very little left that wasn't in the "summary."

Re:How ironic (1)

HorsePunchKid (306850) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382427)

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.

Did you know? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382137)

Bloggers are the new plagiarism!

Quoting is good! (5, Interesting)

Kelson (129150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382141)

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 (4, Interesting)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382162)

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.

Oh noes! My art! Stolen!!!1oneoenevelen (-1, Troll)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382178)

Seriously. Grow up, emo kids.

Here's MY comment on pagiarism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382184)

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.

Bzzzzt! (4, Funny)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382189)

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)

Oh Please! (1)

moore.dustin (942289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382197)

Depending on the blog, the person almost have to reuse blocks of text! If a blog is linking to a new article that he or she thinks the reader may want to look at, well he has to give them some heads up about what they are jumping into. A short block is pasted to grab attention and then a link is presented to the website of origin.

We see this on a many of sites where users or editors submit stories for the readers to look through and decide on what is worth reading. Slashdot does it every single day.

Less corruption (2, Interesting)

Stephen Samuel (106962) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382200)

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.

It is a sin to bear false witniss (1)

the_REAL_sam (670858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382204)


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

I _request_ to be plagiarized (2, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382216)

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?

My Own Personal Thoughts On The Subject... (3, Funny)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 8 years ago | (#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?

VISIT MY WEBSITE FOR MORE OF THE SAME LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382404)

Im an ante-copywright advoc8 who sees MORE POWER in releasing my information for free to the either of the Internet. Not only do I not copyright my blog posts e-books and funky music I openly request other sto copy it and even put their own name on it lol. Ive realized that once I put something into easlly copied form it will be copied :) :) :) It might be parshally(sp?) used fully mimicked or complately turned upside down...... yet I've also found that the more I am copied, the more people tend to find out that I am DA ORIGINAL GANGSTA!!1!

Duh! What did the world expect? (1, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382219)

If you give any given group of teen boys a box of firecrackers, someone is going to get hurt. If you give the great unwashed masses access to tools to publish their thoughts online, someone is going to get plagiarised. Most are too lazy to type out full words; as in "u r 2 kul". What in the world ever made anyone think they would type out complete sentences of their own making? Its much easier to cut and paste someone else's words and then simply point at it and say "wut he sed!."

Blogging tools don't come complete with a copy-editor in a box.

Oh yeah this is such a big problem!! (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382222)

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 with images of text rendered by Flash applet? Run sufficient Javascript on the site to deter any would-be thieves from having the usual theft tools functioning, like the notorious Cmd-C and the diabolical View->Source.

Eh (1)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382234)

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, stick it behind a subscription service. That practice may be why so many people cut'n'paste the whole thing.

Yeah... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382256)

and people who cite Internet sources are clearly plaigarizing too...

Competition? (2, Insightful)

31415926535897 (702314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382273)

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).

You are now plagerised.... (1)

wtoconnor (221184) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382282)

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?
--

RepublicanBlogs (1, Flamebait)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382290)

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 republican 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.

Re:DemocratsBlogs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382422)

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 "Cheney Indictment" 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. ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/links et/2005/04/11/LI2005041100587.html [washingtonpost.com] )

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.

Bloggers shouldn't be taken so seriously (1)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382301)

It's just monkey's clanking away on the keyboard. Use it for opinions or thoughts, but not much else...

Blogs (5, Interesting)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#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!

Plagiarism or dissemination? (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382336)

Plagiarism or dissemination? There are complaints that North Americans are not as aware, but if blogs spark interest in topics that are important and disseminate the information thusly, is it a bad thing? One shouldn't take the information on blogs (or any one source, really,) as proven fact, but if it interests them in the topic and then they go and seek out the fact, something that they otherwise wouldn't have done, then it is beneficial. People need to stop looking at things in terms of legal/illegal, and start looking at them in terms of what's good/bad for us. Let's think for ourselves.

Plagarism? New Viswanathan Book (3, Funny)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382357)

"How Opal Mehta Plagarised, Got Busted, and Got Kicked out of Harvard"

Bloggers hell, MSM! (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382388)

When a news story breaks, and you see a report raw from a wire service feed, watch as practically every news outlet copies and pastes that report verbatim.

Bloggers hell, MSM!-Apples copy oranges. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382428)

"When a news story breaks, and you see a report raw from a wire service feed, watch as practically every news outlet copies and pastes that report verbatim."

They've purchased the right to do that. Plagerism and copyright violations have one defining quality. Without permission.

Just a thought (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382400)

When do we step back and think, "This information will benefit a greater number of people if I don't go litigate everyone that thinks it needs to be spread." By that I mean, if you copy the information from the page and provide a link to the source, you obviously thought that information needed to be shared. Are we to the point in this world where we care more about protecting our ideas than trying to share and expand upon them? Isn't this the basis for open sourcing, think tanks, and such?

Plagiarism Today? (1)

sleeves (939679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382409)

Wonder if the site promotes plagiarism, like Psychology Today and Christianity Today promote their topical namesakes?

ist vs. ism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15382433)

aren't bloggers the new plagiarists?

Media Law and Fair Use (1)

bmh129 (928163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382448)

It's my understanding that news reporting, whether sanctioned by the big 4 networks or not, has broad protection from plagairism and copyright infringement claims under fair use. Oh! Pardon my ignorance; I was asleep for the last 10 years. Fair use is a criminal act now. Woo hoo! Gotta love that Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

Ironically enough (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 8 years ago | (#15382463)

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".

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>