Another Reason For Authors To Fear Google Book Search: It Will Reveal Plenty Of Plagiarists

from the ah,-technology-at-work dept

While some book authors and publishers have come to embrace Google's book search, many are still fighting it. While the reason, for many, is fear that their own copyrights are violated in not being compensated by Google for the project, perhaps others are worried about a different copyright infringement issue. Paul Collins at Slate is predicting that Google's book search will help turn up plenty of plagiarists, including (he expects) some well known authors. He comes to this conclusion after a science writer was accused of plagiarism recently, and immediately accused his accuser of simply putting every sentence in his book into Google and finding some close matches. Collins, however, also notes that plagiarism has a long history among book authors, pointing out that Herman Melville apparently plagiarized sections of other books for his famous novel, Moby Dick. He also points to a friend who accidentally discovered a plagiarized passage using Google's book search... and then discovered that the "original" author of the piece he was looking for had plagiarized texts himself. We recently wondered why plagiarists often seemed so blatant in copying content that was easily findable online -- but just imagine how many others may have copied from various books assuming the same searching capabilities would never be present to call out their misdeeds? Once again, though, perhaps it will renew the debate over whether or not plagiarism is always such a bad thing.


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  1.  
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    Divva, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 4:04am

    Sometimes ya just gotta take the attitude

    that plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery.

    I discovered thatt a site in New Zealand had plagiarized my entire web developmen web site by using CopyScape. I was shocked and horrified.

    I was more shocked by how expensive it was going to be to enforce my rights. OUCH!

     

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  2.  
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    Ryan, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 5:55am

    yeah it's tough

    I once had a guy copy one of my entire websites, he even did it so crappy that the email address listed was mine (that's how i found out, somebody emailed me with a problem from his site)

    anyway, after calling the number in the WHOIS and getting no answer, I made a call to the host and had it pulled. The kid actually tried pressing charges against me!!

    As a book author myself, I had to fight to get into google book search. It's great for sales. I can't see why people wouldn't want to be listed in it. Nobody is going to read your book through it, and it only has the potential to increase sales.

    i'm also of the opinion that anything that prevents plagiarism is a good thing.

     

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  3.  
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    comboman, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 5:57am

    Plagiarism - The new patent hoarding

    I just had a great idea. I'll publish a book with millions of computer-generated sentences (checked in Google to make sure they're original), then wait for someone else to publish a book with one of those sentences and sue for plagiarism. Too bad "Once upon a time" is already in the public domain.

     

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  4.  
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    Haywood, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 6:19am

    Plagiarism got me a B

    I pretty well used word processing and Plagiarism to get through all my college papers. I'd always change the wording the required 10% or more, and maybe inject a little original thought. The sheer volume of paper work involved pretty well pushes you into a corner.

     

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  5.  
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    Haywood, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 6:27am

    Plagiarism got me a B

    Ooh! Look at me! I cheated my way through college and justify it through reasoning that work is really hard! Ooh!

     

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  6.  
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    Brian, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 6:43am

    exagerrated link description

    I reccomend all click read the article Mike links to for "immediately accused his accuser of simply putting every sentence in his book into Google and finding some close matches." - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/19/AR2006101901233.html


    In context, the post leaves little doubt over this guys guilt... Luckily I clicked the link, which is actually an editorial by the author rebutting the original plagiarism charge printed earlier in the Wash Post. His argument is convincing enough for me.

    Not only are these quotes convincing to me, but they make a great point: What if the web site in question actually plagiarized him???

    "...and the search resulted in two short sentences that he claimed appeared on a Web site. Even the two sentences he found were in no way identical to the ones in my book."

    "Every time a book of mine is published, roughly 10,000 new Web pages are created or modified, and as we all know (although apparently the journalism professor does not), Web pages proliferate and copy from each other without restriction."

    Sounds like this guy already has enough FUD thrown at him, no need to ignorantly throw more.

     

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  7.  
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    Awesome Mr Ethan, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 6:44am

    Woah

    Did someone just plagiarize that dude's name and subject? If only Google could confirm it for me!

     

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  8.  
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    Brian, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 6:48am

    ... so who wants to donate to my spell-checker fund? ;)

     

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  9.  
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    rbb, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 6:57am

    Now, if they would only start transcribing politicians' speeches. Then the fun would start. John Biden had better look out...

     

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  10.  
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    Paco, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 7:31am

    Re: Politicians

    Yeah but if we started paying any attention to politicians everyone might figure out that they just contradict themselves every other day.

     

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  11.  
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    Matthew, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 8:11am

    My favorite plagiarism claim

    Was the Book of Mormon Plagiarized from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass?

    http://www.jefflindsay.com/bomsource.shtml

    The simple fact is this: Walt Whitman is surely the best nineteenth-century candidate ever proposed for Book of Mormon plagiarism, offering parallels far richer than other writers and scholars have proposed using other texts.

     

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  12.  
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    rockfan, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 8:15am

    bla...

    all this talk about how plagiarism is wrong is about as useless as talking about how many mistakes bush has made. just like bush's idiotic tendencys, plagiarism will always be here.

    the only way were going to stop plagiarists is if we start choping there hands off when we catch them. that way they cant type or write copyrighted material. of course this will never happen becuase the first crazy plagierizing liberal who suddenly finds his hands missing is going to start screaming about excesive punishment.

    as far as i know china has been chopping the hands off theifs for centuries, and as far as i know china has been very successfull with this sort of thing.

    so untill the hands come off, plagiarism is here to stay.

     

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  13.  
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    mockfan, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 8:27am

    wha...

    All of this talk about plagiarism being wrong is about as useless as talking about how many mistakes Bush made. Not unlike Bush's idiotic tendencies, plagiarism will always exist.

    the only way were going to stop plagiarists is if we start chopping off their hands when we catch them. This way, they'll be unable to type or write copyrighted material. Clearly this will never happen becuase the first angry plagiarizing liberal that suddenly finds his hands missing will start screaming about excessive punishment.

    From what I gather, China has been chopping the hands off of theives for centuries. As far as i know they've been very successfull with this sort of thing.

    so untill the hands come off, plagiarism is here to stay.

     

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  14.  
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    rockfan, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 9:10am

    lol...

    so somebody is touchy about spelling and grammer. well congratulations, you fixed my mistakes. does that mean your also going to fix the dislexia i've had since birth? i think not.

    besides, isn't reposting my writing with some slight changes a form of plagierism?

    so yes, three cheers for "mockfan" for mocking somebody with dislexia. i wonder if he mocks cripples as well as people with learning problems. probably not considering he have do it face to face with a cripple.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 9:19am

    Part of Moby Dick was plagiarized? Where might I find out more about this? My father, who is a big Melville fan, attended, and I attend, the same school that Melville attended for a year or two. I can't stand Melville, so I would love any information with which to put him down.

     

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  16.  
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    Locktan, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 9:30am

    Re: lol...

    Thats the joke....Mr. Obvious.
    I didn't see any of your words inverted, so stop being so sensitive. He didn't know you were dyslexic, he just thought you were a moron by the words you chose to use and the way you phrased them.
    By the way, why would he have to make fun of a cripple face-to-face? Couldn't he do it online or behind his back like everybody else does?

     

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  17.  
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    mokfan, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 9:36am

    Re: lol...

    So somebody is touchy about spelling and grammar. Well congratulations, you fixed my mistakes. Does that mean your also going to fix the dyslexia I’ve had since birth? I think not.

    Besides, isn't reposting my writing with some slight changes a form of plagiarism?

    So yes, three cheers for "mockfan" for mocking somebody with dyslexia. i wonder if he mocks cripples as well as people with learning problems. Probably not considering he has to do it face to face with a cripple.

     

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  18.  
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    bl4k0p2, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 9:40am

    It doesnt ALWAYS pay to be a smartass...

    The funniest thing about "mockfan" reprinting a corrected version of your post is, they obviously didnt use spell check either. If you look they spelled some of the same words wrong that you did. Some QAR THEY turned out to be, huh?

    In my mind, a certain amount of material theft is to be expected especially if what you have to say is worth the paper its printed on. Sometimes good ideas spread like wildfire...

     

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  19.  
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    Yodafan, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 9:48am

    Out Loud I am Laughing...

    Touchy about spelling and grammer, somebody is, hmmm. My mistakes you fixed, congratulations! Means this the dyslexia I've had since birth you will fix? I think not.

    A form of plagerism, besides, is it not, reposting my writing with some slight changes?

    So yes, for mocking somebody with dyslexia three cheers will "mockfan" have. Wonder, I do, cripples and retards also he mocks?

     

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  20.  
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    Joe Shmoe, Nov 22nd, 2006 @ 4:28pm

    Well....

    "Good artist copy, great artists steal."
    - Pablo Picasso

     

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  21.  
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    Pramit Singh, Nov 23rd, 2006 @ 12:19am

    How will Google deal copyright issues?

    You have raiaed a good point there.

     

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

  22.  
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    Brian, Nov 23rd, 2006 @ 12:55am

    apologies rockfan

    My post as "mockman" was purely meant to satire plagiarism. In no way was I criticizing you - I simply changed a few of your words while keeping your original thought to demonstrate plagiarism. I'm responsible for posts #6 and #8, so take a look at those before accusing me of being the grammar-Nazi.

    The comedic value depended on my post appearing immediately after yours, so that explains why my edits tapered toward the end (clock was ticking). "Mockfan" simply being a convenient play off your handle + plagiarism.

    Seriously folks, lets get over ourselves already...

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2006 @ 7:15am

    Re: Plagiarism - The new patent hoarding

    I think "It was a dark and stormy night" (Bulwer-Lytton) may be also... :-)

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2006 @ 5:27pm

    If people read polies speeches they would discover that tehy rarely say anything, so if you see a politician contradicting himself, that is probably a bit of good news. Bush's stupid ideas will die out, the same time as anyone influenced by him has finally died.

     

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


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