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Plagiarizing reviews, pirating books: a shout out to authors

4 Apr

I was made aware a while back that author Delilah Marvelle had found that someone had plagiarized a number of reviews of her books from an English speaking reviewer.

As I get so little traffic (and have a Creative Commons License posted pretty prominently on the blog), I’ve never been too terribly concerned about plagiarism. Still, I checked–and found that at least two filesharing (aka, pirating) sites seem to have posted some of my my more positive reviews.

I say ‘seem’ because I am not about to register to either of these sites to check–I will say that it’s a pretty safe bet to say that they are using positive reviews to encourage users to download those books. Which pisses me off.

Here’s the thing–I cannot start sending DMCA notices on behalf of the authors, because only the copyright owner can do that.

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Killing *that* Mockingbird

18 Mar

(I originally posted this to the Literature discussion section of MyMedia, but since I have a page on copyright, and have railed often against its abuse *coughDisneycough*, I wanted to post it here as well.)

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With the recent death of Harper Lee, celebrated author of that quintessential classic of US literature, To Kill a Mockingbird, some readers and industry professionals have been uneasy about her legacy.

After all, after last summer’s release of the never-before-published prequel/sequel, Go Set a Watchman, which created strong, and often wildly disparate opinions among fans of Ms Lee’s first novel, there was speculation as to the circumstances under which the manuscript was discovered, and about whether its publication went against the wishes of the author.

Now, Ms Lee’s estate first official action has been to stop publication of any and all mass paperback editions of To Kill a Mockingbird–after requesting the courts to seal the beloved author’s will.

Many people are wondering what motive would Tonja Carter, who was Ms Lee’s lawyer and who is the executor of her estate, have to want to hide her late client’s will from public eyes.

Whatever her reason, her move to block the publication and reprinting of the inexpensive paperback editions, which would force new readers to purchase the much pricier trade paperback editions, is undoubtedly going to taint Ms Lee’s legacy–as well as making it less likely that schools will continue to list To Kill a Mockingbird in their required reading lists: Continue reading

No, really, plagiarism doesn’t ‘just happen’

8 Mar

(No, I don’t spend a lot of time looking up these stories, they just show up on my horizon.)

If one were very, very charitable, one would imagine that someone who doesn’t read much, or who doesn’t spend much time online, would not know what plagiarism actually is, and therefore, one would be able to excuse/justify/explain people like Cassie Edwards (“oh, she’s so old, she couldn’t have known better”) or Kristi Diehm (“oh, but she’s just a blogger”), plagiarists.

I am not that charitable, by far. My mother is about Ms Edwards’ age, and she knows very well, not only what constitutes plagiarism, but that plagiarizing is both intellectually lazy and morally wrong. For her part, Kristi Diehm had written (and then deleted), a full post on the topic before going on to steal other people’s intellectual content. Also, I’m ‘only’ a blogger *snort* and I’ve known what plagiarism is well before colleges and high schools started using turnitin to catch it.

I’m even less inclined to excuse people like, say, Timothy Parker, who earned a Guinness World Record as most syndicated crosswords compiler back in 2000. Parker gets paid royalties and fees for this work; instead,  he copied old crossword puzzles almost clue by clue, raking in plenty of money over the years, for work other people had already done–or by reusing his own word under fake bylines.

The original investigation was published earlier this month by fivethirtyeight, and the story was picked up by the New York Times and other big news outlets today.

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John Havel, plagiarist for The Hustle, a (long) postscript

28 Jul

First, the niceties: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one anywhere. You can read what I know (or think I know) about copyright and fair use, as it applies to the United States, here and here, respectively. Based on my understanding of both, I believe that my use of screenshots and quotes in this post, for the purpose of commentary and discussion, as well as to express my opinions, fall squarely under fair use.

Also, I’m using either do-not-link links, or cached pages from the Wayback Machine, because I’m not giving the assholes at The Hustle hits.

Finally, this is very long. No, seriously; it’s insanely long. You’ve been warned.

And now, on to the post. (Please note the update in the body of the post)

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