Plagiarism and the web

I meant to put this up earlier, but better late than never.  Austin and I, like most bloggers, grudgingly accept that a certain amount of plagiarism occurs on the Internet.  It drives me crazy, but most cases are ambiguous enough to ignore.  Grudgingly.  But then there’s cases like this.  The gist is that an author found out that one of her articles on apple pie had been reprinted on another site without permission.  She wrote them and suggested they make a small donation to the Columbia School of Journalism in lieu of payment for the article.  When she finally got a reply, it was this:

“Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was “my bad” indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.
But honestly Monica, the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me… ALWAYS for free!”

I’m stunned.  Seriously.  Is this a common belief?  Am I crazy?

Read Monica’s whole post.  And then go read this post by her friend.

And then get angry.

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