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Argentinian Politician's Proposal For New Anti-Plagiarism Law Plagiarizes Wikipedia

from the where's-the-anti-irony-law dept

Britxardo alerts us to an amazingly ironic story coming out of Argentina. It seems that an elected politician there, Gerónimo Vargas Aignasse, has introduced some new legislation against plagiarism (Google translation of the original). It seems odd enough that he would be outlawing plagiarism (here in the US plagiarism is socially shunned, and could cost you your job, but isn't against the law unless it also reaches the point of copyright infringement, which is different), and it's made even worse by the fact that it looks like he's confusing plagiarism with copyright infringement -- noting in the explanation of the bill that "plagiarism" is harming the recording industry.

But that's not the ironic part.

As unbelievable as it may seem, it appears that the text Vargas Aignasse used to explain the bill was plagiarized straight from Wikipedia (Google translation of the original). Seriously. And not just a little bit. The first three paragraphs of the Spanish Wikipedia page on plagiarism are identical to three paragraphs in the explanation of the bill.

Just to make sure someone didn't do the opposite and take the text of the introduction and make it the Wikipedia page, I looked, and as I'm typing this, the Wikipedia page hasn't been updated since April -- and it looks like the bulk of that page has actually been in place for quite some time. The bill was introduced on May 6th.

It's difficult to think of anything more ironic than introducing a bill that calls for "imprisonment from three to eight years" for plagiarism... that plagiarizes the explanation for that bill. It's out and out plagiarism too. The three paragraphs look to be copied completely, and no effort is made to identify the source. It's also a bit weird that the text from Wikipedia -- which is basically just a definition of plagiarism -- is being used as the explanation of the bill. Nowhere does it describe why it's a problem or why it requires stringent jailtime. But, perhaps that's something Vargas Aignasse can ponder while serving three to eight years in prison for violating the law he just introduced... with the law he just introduced.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 8:34am

    creative commons. what a wonderful thing. you may now step off your high horse, using your soap box as a step down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 8:36am

    "It's difficult to think of anything more ironic than..."

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea of plagiarizing a song. What the frick?! Are you sure there's not some sort of April 1st holiday in Argentina around this time?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    creative commons. what a wonderful thing. you may now step off your high horse, using your soap box as a step down.

    The cc license concerns the copyright issue, not plagiarism. The two are different things. It is still plagiarism because the guy acts as if the content was his own.

    Separately, it even violates the CC license, which is an attribution license.

     

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  4.  
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    mariovistus (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 8:47am

    plagiarizing plagiarism policies

    I remember reading about two universities (Stanford and Oregon I think). One plagiarized the plagiarism policy of the other. My guess is that this has occurred more than in this instance.

     

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  5.  
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    Neilson, May 14th, 2010 @ 8:47am

    Ha

    Maybe they can pass the bill and put him in jail as an example?

    This story is too funny, and scary at the same time.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 8:49am

    Re:

    The public domain. What an essential thing. You may now step on your dead horse, using your shine box as a step up.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re:

    does it matter? the material is put out there to be used. you should be thrilled and pleased that a government is using the worlds one perfect information source. after all, everything on wikipedia is perfect, right mike? especially your profile. did you write it, or ask michael ho to do it?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re:

    Perhaps Vargas Aignasse was the one who wrote that wikipedia article, or at least the portions he allegedly plagiarized :)

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    LOOK OUT! TROLL BOOTH AHEAD!

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think Mike is against attribution. and even if so, the point is that Vargas Aignasse is being hypocritical, he is not holding himself up to his own standards, Mike's standards are mostly irrelevant in this case.

     

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  11.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Mike already addressed that possibility. Can't you read? Stop smashing your fingers on they keyboard until you can. Thanks!

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Michael, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Are you serious?

    Regardless of anyone's opinion of the actual law. This is a guy introducing a law against something and in the explanation of the law itself he violated it.

    This is one very small step from outlawing the creation of laws.

    Regardless of the merits of the bill - a politician that is really this dumb should not get re-elected.

     

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  13.  
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    Beta, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:26am

    now, now

    Yes, it's ironic, yes, he's a hypocrite, but no, you can't put him jail. You can't punish someone for having violated a law before the law was enacted (unless the Argentinian constitution is really, really messed up), so if the crime involves doing something in the creation of a document, the bill which is to become the law is the one document in the world which the law definitely cannot possibly pertain to.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, what Mike said was that he checked to see if the bill was written before the wikipedia article. but how did he check to see if the wikipedia article was written by the same author? Perhaps the Wikipedia article was written before the bill by the same author of the bill.

     

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  15.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Perhaps the Wikipedia article was written before the bill by the same author of the bill."

    .....Seriously? THAT'S your objection? You really don't have anything better? I could drum up a few trollish examples for you, if you like....

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Why do you think I put the :) after it? It was a joke, dang, you people have no sense of humor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ah, didn't see the original comment. My bad, home slice....

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Re: now, now

    I think everyone already knew this and this isn't what's being contested. Sure, someone may have made a joke about passing the law and putting him in jail as an example, but I doubt they were serious about it.

     

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  19.  
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    Andrés Sanchís, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: now, now

    There are rare cases of laws applied retroactively. But I believe they are always changes that can't damage anyone, only benefit them. So most probably this law doesn't apply retroactively and you're right... he's a hypocrite but you can't put him in jail.

     

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  20.  
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    awd, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Even if he wrote those portions -- which, like Mike already said is unlikely -- it would still be self-plagiarism. Yes, such a thing exists and is taken quite seriously in scientific circles.

     

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  21.  
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    DocMenach (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    We would have a better sense of humor about comments like that, but there is a certain Anonymous Coward who constantly makes statements along those lines, as isn't joking. (comments 1 and 7)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: now, now

    "There are rare cases of laws applied retroactively."

    You mean like copyright extension.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, it's TAM, but I think the :) should have tipped you off to the fact that I wasn't serious.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Self plagiarism? So if I type a sentence and I retype it again, I'm self plagiarizing if I don't reference myself? Serious? I'll look that up

    "Typically, self-plagiarism is only considered to be a serious ethical issue in settings where a publication is asserted to consist of new material, such as in academic publishing or educational assignments [20]. It does not apply (except in the legal sense) to public-interest texts, such as social, professional, and cultural opinions usually published in newspapers and magazines."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism#Self-plagiarism

    I'm not sure if this would constitute self plagiarism, is there a reasonable expectation that the bill's text is "new" material?

     

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  25.  
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    Osno (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 10:04am

    It's really funny that the first line ends with " dándolas como propias"[.] " because there's a reference in wikipedia (obviously omitted in the text of the law). Also, this is a reform of the code to make the sentences longer, so he is probably violating a previous law (although which one is something that is better left to the reader).

    BTW, the justification has nothing to do with the amendment to the article. The amendment reads: There will be 3 to 8 years prison to whoever commits fraud by using an assumed name, misrepresents quality, uses fake documents [translation note: specifically college degrees and such], misrepresented influence, abuse of confidence [I really can't understand what test is valid for this] or feigning to have property, credit, commission, enterprise or negotiation or who uses another sort of trick or misrepresentation.

    So this is basically a law penalizing lying (and the college degree is kind of hot here right now because of opposing parties that are found not to have the title they say they have) and not a law about plagiarism.

    It's also funny that this guy actually has a precedent of being suspect of smuggling counterfeit products himself (http://www.derf.com.ar/despachos.asp?cod_des=72815&ID_Seccion=34).

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Kent, May 14th, 2010 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re:

    There's a difference between plagiarism & copyright.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Io El Bananero, May 14th, 2010 @ 10:46am

    He´s from Tucumán

    Yep, the guy is from Tucumán (one province located North of Arg) they are infamous for being thieves with sticky fingers.
    So it seems to be truth,

    Tucumanos gatos!!!!

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, plagiarists get rewarded for their behaviour:

    http://gawker.com/5538623/harvards-most-infamous-plagiarist-is-more-successful-than-yo u

    "Stuck in an awful dead-end job? Try becoming embroiled in a plagiarism scandal! It worked for famous Harvard plagiarist Kaavya Viswanathan. She just got a sweet summer job at one of the most prominent law firms in the country."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Any Mouse, May 14th, 2010 @ 10:55am

    Re: Re:

    Public Domain? Where?!? Oh, wait. That doesn't apply to plagiarism, just copyright. Huh.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 11:45am

    plagiarism IS illegal in several US states

    not per se, but in many academic contexts.

    I plagiarized this list:

    # California Education Code §§ 66400 – 66405
    # Colorado § 23-4-101 – 106
    # Connecticut § 53-392a – e
    # Florida § 877.17
    # Illinois ch. 110, § 5/0.01 – 5/1
    # Maine 17-A § 705
    # Massachusetts ch. 271, § 50
    # Nevada 207.320
    # New Jersey 18A:2-3
    # New York Education Law § 213-b
    # North Carolina § 14-118.2
    # Pennsylvania title 18, § 7324
    # Virginia § 18.2-505
    # Washington 28B.10.580 – 584

    (probably not a copyright violation: uncreative list of facts, arranged alphabetically)

     

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  31.  
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    Mike, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    It's not plagiarism if the guy wrote the first three paragraph of the Wikipedia article.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re:

    The wiki article isn't under public domain. It uses Creative Commons, which requires attribution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    DocMenach (profile), May 14th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    He didn't write the article

    I'm not sure why people keep trying to say thing like "it's not plagiarism if he wrote it himself". You can easily check the history of the article to see when and who added those paragraphs. They were written by a user who goes by HPRMedina. His user page states that he is a Computer engineer.

    So can we please stop with the "he might have written it" line of comments.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 12:30pm

    Re: He didn't write the article

    Maybe he was just pretending to be a computer engineer...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 1:30pm

    He's clearly as lazy as he is incompetent. However, since few laws are retroactive, he cannot violate the law until after it passes. Therefore, this is actually a rather ingenious way to ensure he is the very last person to commit the offense before the moment at which doing so actually becomes a crime. Touche.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 3:29pm

    I seem to see a pattern...

    That is actually very similar to what the French government did recently; they created a new website about the need to respect of copyright on the Internet, and their infringed someone's copyright by featuring a Creative Commons-licensed photo on their front page without crediting the author. See http://walkyr.fr/monsieur-cope-viole-lui-aussi-le-droit-dauteur/ for the full story (in French, but with screenshots).

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    St. George, May 14th, 2010 @ 5:54pm

    It's no surprise that a person in here (yeah... I'm argentinian) from the political side, does that.
    Imagine that whenever these guys have to discuss an idea or a law that is gonna represent the whole country, they are sleeping (the worst part is that you can see that on TV... creepy).
    I guess we are always be more known for the corrupt politicians than for the nice things we have in here...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2010 @ 10:14pm

    Re:

    Don't feel bad, corrupt politicians are ubiquitous no matter where you go. Can't escape from them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    Eli, May 15th, 2010 @ 9:51am

    You are all just arguing too logically! He is a politician - no law that he or others pass applies to him. As ironic and downright stupid as this bill is it typifies what politicians turn into if you give them enough rope. If you break a law in Argentina, you just slip a generous amount of money into the hands of someone and - voila! What law? Who broke it? Whether it's speeding, getting a passport or getting accepted into a school, someone ALWAYS knows someone that can make it happen. Argentina, Greece and soon - The United States.

    By the way, how do I know this? Well . . . I moved here from Buenos Aires. Why? Because of all the rampant corruption! Funny I smell the same kind of corruption coming to this once great nation. :-(

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2010 @ 3:36pm

    Re:

    "So this is basically a law penalizing lying ..."

    If lying was against the law almost every politician should be in jail. I suppose the law doesn't apply to politicians.

    "and not a law about plagiarism. "

    The section that was plagiarized from wikipedia was about plagiarism and so at least that part of the law had to do with plagiarism, or else why plagiarize a wiki article about plagiarism.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Michellimus, May 16th, 2010 @ 7:05pm

    about that bribery thing....

    here in the States it's legal, and goes by the name lobbying...

    and oh yeah, the guy who plagiarized the plagiarism Wiki article is either amazingly cocky or amazingly clueless.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    Michael Price (profile), May 16th, 2010 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Ha

    But his bill was written before it was passed so he can't be prosecuted for violating a law that before it existed.

     

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  43.  
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    mermaldad (profile), May 18th, 2010 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Ha

    Then obviously the bill needs to be amended to make it retroactive.

    My own guess is that this politician's political enemies managed to plant a mole among his staffers. That mole planted the Wikipedia text in the plagiarism bill and he, like most politicians, rubber stamped it. Now the political hay-making can begin!

     

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  44.  
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    mermaldad (profile), May 18th, 2010 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: He didn't write the article

    Then he's lying about his credentials and in violation of his own law.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Anonimous Argentine, May 24th, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    Re:

    It seems all days are April first in Argentina lately.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Yuriy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    Antiplagiarism (Check on plagiarism) - A free and simple check on plagiarism. The documentation for this program is found online at http://antiplagiarismc.sourceforge.net/


    The presence of textual materials in electronic format has made plagiarism easier than ever. Copying and pasting paragraphs or even entire text can now be accomplished with a few mouse clicks.
    Plagiarism may be a violation of copyright law and patent law and as such may lead to legal liability. The most commonly plagiarism is expressed in the publication under the name of another product or another's ideas, as well as fragments of foreign borrowing works without specifying the source of borrowing. Sign of plagiarism is the assignment of authorship, as improper use, publication, copying a work protected by copyright, by itself, is not plagiarism, and other kind of violation of copyright law called "piracy." "Piracy" is plagiarized misuse of the results of intellectual work and assigning authorship publishing entity.
    When a man stands in front of creative task can never be absolutely certain that he will not copy-paste in some place other people's information, passing it off as his own. Copy-paste is much easier than creative work, so the temptation to cheat is great. This becomes a key issue for business and education.
    AntiPlagiarism - software designed to effectively detect and thereby prevent plagiarism. It is a versatile tool to deal with World Wide Web copy-pasting information from the assignment of authorship.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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