Plagiarism is still newsworthy, especially when it comes time to take a look at the side by side comparisons.
Seeing comparisons side by side isn’t just eye opening, it’s also kind of stunning when you consider that IT’S THE INTERNET AND YOU’LL GET CAUGHT FOR THE LOVE OF CRAP.
First up: Chris Anderson‘s Free, the sequel to Long Tail, which describes how acts of generosity in product distribution may create profit.
RUH ROH. Seems Anderson lifted material from Wikipedia, as the Virginia Quarterly Review accounted in detail. Their research was compounded like an orgasmic interest rate by Ed Champion who provides a buffet of examples as to where much of Anderson’s book text originated:
A cursory plunge into the book’s contents reveals that Anderson has not only cribbed material from Wikipedia and websites (sometimes without accreditation), but that he has a troubling habit of mentioning a book or an author and using this as an excuse to reproduce the content with very few changes — in some cases, nearly verbatim….
In a subsection called “The Three Prices,” Anderson writes about Derek Sivers’s “reversible business models,” but entire paragraphs from Sivers’s “Reversible Business Models” August 2008 blog post have been recycled with very few modifications.
Anderson, P. 32: “In China, some doctors are paid monthly when their patients are healthy. If you are sick, it’s their fault, so you don’t have to pay that month. It’s their goal to get you healthy and keep you healthy so they can get paid.”
Sivers: “In China, some doctors are paid monthly when you are healthy. If you are sick, it’s their fault, so you don’t have to pay that month. It’s their goal to get you healthy and keep you healthy so they can get paid. ”
Anderson, P. 31: “In one instance, he told his class at MIT’s Sloan School of Business that he would be doing a reading of poetry (Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass) but didn’t know what it should cost. He handed out a questionnaire to all the students, half of whom were asked if they’d be willing to pay $10 to hear him read, and the other half of whom were asked if they’d be willing to hear him read if he paid them $10. Then he gave them all the same question: What should the price be to hear him read short, medium, and long versions of the poem?
Sivers: “Professor Dan Ariely told his class that he would be doing a reading of poetry, but didn’t know what it should cost. He handed out a price survey to all students, but secretly half of the surveys asked if they’d be willing to pay $10 to hear him read, and the other half asked if they’d be willing to hear him read if he paid them $10!
“Those who got the question about paying him were willing to pay. They offered to pay, on average, $1, $2, $3 for short, medium, long readings.”
Not to toot my own horn, but lemme grab it and make that funny sound with my lips that’s sort of like a fart but not quite: Yo, Chris. You missed the second part of my advice on internet relationships: Generosity and AUTHENTICITY are the best currency for anyone marketing anything on the Internet.
Authenticity is not lifting crap from Wikipedia.
But wait, just when you thought we were done, from Wikipedia to Celiac disease we go!
First, ever met someone with gluten intolerance, or Celiac disease? It sucks so impossibly hard, I can’t even tell you. It’s brutal because gluten hides out in a TON of foods.
Allegations of plagiarism, however, are not so much with the hiding. Elisabeth Hasselbeck has been accused of copright infringement in a lawsuit filed in Massachusetts federal court. Susan Hassett, who published her book, Living with Celiac Disease (note: profoundly unfortunate website ahoy) independently, alleges that Hasselbeck lifted verbatim phrases and lists from Hassett’s book, as well as the names and order of the chapters.
Both documents list examples, from the chapter names to specific passages. Further, the TMZ letter states that Hassett posted on the ABC News website a “blog” (sic) indicating that she’d mailed a copy of her book to Hasselbeck over a year prior to the release of Hasselbeck’s book, and had noted how much the books had in common. Her post was removed.
While I haven’t seen a blogger take on the side-by-side comparison of Hassett’s book and Hasselbeck’s, the comparison work on Anderson’s is just jaw dropping. What the hell, people? How is it that the wily internet is all over the obvious similarities, and the author blames the troublesome nature Wikipedia editing, and the process of deciding whether or not to footnote while the publisher calls the whole mess “an unfortunate mistake.” They still plan to release the book 7 July:
Anderson added that the errors were “a lot less” than VQR suggests.
“Take away the properly attributed quoted to the New York Times and others in the passages, the proper nouns and the random words that appear in sentences that are obviously my own, and the errors look a lot more limited,” he said in his email. “That’s no excuse – Wikipedia should have been cited, and will be in the electronic editions and online notes, but it’s more of a footnoting/attribution problem, and one that will be fixed before publication in all but the hardcover edition.”
You’re goddam right it was an unfortunate mistake, and once again, I and others are wondering why this happens again and again. In other words, someone isn’t doing their goddam job, and it’s not just the writer.
Perhaps it’s time to amend my statement, “IT’S THE INTERNET: you will get caught” to “It’s the internet! Do you really think we’re THAT gullible?!” As one commenter at VQR pointed out,, if Anderson’s book is all about the power of “Free,” how about that book hits stands for “free?” How about it, Hyperion?
Color me surprised: radio silence.