Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Overweight? Try this

I've been slow to post these days, for which I am sorry. Life is hectic right now.

But plenty of other people have been posting these days. One of my favorites of recent weeks is Carrie Arnold's post from yesterday. It's parody of the best kind--sarcastic as hell and oh-so-true in spirit. Jonathan Swift would have approved.


Anonymous said...

Hi Harriet,

Sorry I have to make the rounds on this one (I've already commented on another blog that referenced this post), but the "Overheight Epidemic" post is a direct paraphrase of my March post, "The Tall Epidemic:" http://bigliberty.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/the-tall-epidemic/

I was not referenced, even though some of the satiric phraseology I used was directly paraphrased, and my post was much longer with links to many articles.

I think you of all people would understand the seriousness behind plagiarism, even when it's paraphrased. I wouldn't have minded, if I were directly referenced and my phraseology quoted instead of paraphrased and reused as if it were original.

So sorry if I sound a bit like a broken record on a few blogs, for everyone who is reading this, but I must insist that basic respect is given for the originality of others' writing and ideas. I might not be as prominent a blog as some, but that doesn't give any other blogger the right to hijack my hard work.

Harriet said...

Hi Big Liberty,

Knowing the blogger in question I cannot believe this was deliberate plagiarism. It could be that this is such a logical parody that many people thought of it on their own, and maybe the wordings are similar because they're taking off the same materials in the first place?

Which is not to take away from your brilliant post in the first place. I know as a writer sometimes if I read something that makes a big impression on me I kind of internalize some of the phrasings. Many a nonfiction writer has gotten into trouble this way but not on purpose . . . anyway, thanks for linking back to your wonderful original post.

observer said...

Both posts are hilarious; the source material that spawned both would result in similar wording, so it's likely any infringement was inadvertent. Nevertheless, the way it has been dealt with so far is not the way to go: An accusation of plagiarism is NOT properly dealt with by commenting ad nauseum to the post with a repeated cranky takedown demand. There is a better--legal, more adult and "professional"--series of actions that can be taken in cases of alleged copyright infringement by the owner of such copyright; these actions (used as warranted) will only help one's case against any infringer if it gets to court:

1.) The first thing one should do if they believe that someone else plagiarized them is to contact them--e-mail is appropriate here-- submitting a request to remove the offending item in "X" amount of time (sending them a copy of the original item including the original time stamp(s) and a link to support the request) or appropriate action will be taken.

If the item is removed (apology or not)? Problem solved. If it isn't? Then follow up with the "appropriate action":

2.) This "appropriate action" for a non-or insufficient--response is an ITS (Intent to Sue) message, preferably by snail-mail to the accused plagiarist(s), demanding removal or they will face possible legal action.

If the item is removed? Problem solved. If not...

3.) The copyright holder should then contact the host(s) of the offending site(s) filing a DMCA "takedown" notice.

If this is enough to resolve the issue and there are no further offenses? Problem solved.
If not...

4.) An abuse complaint to the host and/or the accused plagiarist's ISP is also warranted if the offense continues. Of course, this needs to be well-documented; the time it takes to get to this point should be sufficient to gather the evidence.

5.) Of course, if all else fails, then it may be time to go to court, especially if the item and/or site was registered with the U.S. Copyright Office (this is not required, but does up the ante of possible penalties).

However, a note of caution: It could well be that someone else came up with the same thing before our complainant did and can prove infringement against her as well. If this is the case, relief may well include the removal of her post as well as that of the original target's!

In other words, she should be careful what she asks for...