"The Internet is becoming a cesspool of plagiarism"

August 2, 2006 at 11:25 am 4 comments

OK, maybe we’ve heard this before and it isn’t “news” to us, but I found what was mentioned after this first quoted line from the August 1st USA Today article, “Authorship gets lost on Web” by Del Jones to be very interesting and certainly pertinent to all of us bloggers and other Internet authors. A few of my favorite quotes/info bits from the article are the following:

They’re like cockroaches,” McKee says. “Ideas are our assets, and it’s frustrating when people take them from you without shame,” which referred to bloggers who used McKee’s specific material in their posts without giving him any credit.

“Pew Research two weeks ago said it found that of the 12 million adults who blog, 44% say they have taken songs, text or images and “remixed” them into their own artistic creation.”

As a contributing chapter author for Vibiana Bowman’s 2004 book, I must say that we went to great lengths to ensure that we were giving credit where credit was due in our writings before we published them. It can take some time and effort, but it is worth it.

That being said, I must say that not everyone seems to care about this, and I agree with McKee–it is annoying when we come across our intellectual content found in someone else’s post, online article, PowerPoint slides, or Website–with no attribution given at all. I truly believe that Jones is correct when he states: “In some quarters, plagiarism remains a serious offense. But where it involves the Internet, an acceptance of plagiarism is taking hold, and when confronted, offenders often shrug it off as hardly newsworthy.”

At the end of this short, enlightening article, Jones quotes Berkowitz concerning properly attributing someone’s original content on the Internet: “It’s like the Wild West out there.”

Maybe the Internet, in general, and blogs, specifically, are fast becoming “cesspool[s] of plagiarism,” or maybe not, but you have to admit that you have seen plagiarism on the Web. Let’s not help online plagiarism continue to grow within our own Websites–let’s do our part and remind each other to quote and cite/link to each others’ intellectual property and not let “authorship get lost on the Web.” Yes, even within our own blog postings.

Anyway, thank you, Del Jones, for the stories, quotes, and reminder to honor others. And I hope I gave you and others enough credit–no, really, seriously, I do. To everyone else, read his article.


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  • 1. Janie L. Hermann  |  August 3, 2006 at 8:40 am

    I would have to think that it is the immediacy of blogging that often leads to unintentional plagiarism on the part of many… or else just laziness. I observe the younger generation at work on papers in the tech center and see how they cut, paste, remix, and the change a word or two and they have no sense that they have plagiarized. I have no solutions, just wanted to pipe in with my somewhat obvious observations.

  • 2. Robert J. Lackie  |  August 3, 2006 at 10:50 am

    Yes, I agree with you. I think that many of us, especially when quickly blogging, do sometimes unintentionally plagiarize, but after reading the article, and because of previous research I’ve done on the topic, I thought it would be a good reminder for us all. I think education is the key. Thanks, Janie (and also for your help with posting a photo)!

  • 3. Anna  |  August 6, 2006 at 3:58 am

    The issue of online plagiarism is another reminder of the negative image of the internet as an authoritative means of exchanging intellectual material. As a student I am all too aware of the dangers of researching information on the web, especially for academic purposes. While this criticism of internet resources is not new, it seems the culture of immediacy and “anything goes” evident on some sites means strict evaluation of internet sources is continually necessary. But the terms of evaluation are themselves fluid and changing. Perhaps a systematic method of evaluation or certification of authority/authenticity could be introduced on some sites…I watch and wait.

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