This is a post I originally published on the Kirkwood Libraries blog, I recently updated it and I thought it might be worth sharing here too.
One of the topics we talk about a lot in library orientations is plagiarism. Sometimes students wonder aloud just how big a deal it is. This story shows that even if you can get away with it for awhile, when you are caught it’s a major problem.
Here is the blog post that started it all where the writer lets everyone know she was plagiarized and what the plagiarist did about it:
Basically the response was one that I’ve gotten when I discovered someone had used some of my stuff without asking. Please note NONE of these statements are true.
- Everything on the web is fair game to be used in anyway you want.
- They are doing you a favor because they are sharing content that no one would see it where you had it posted. (How this is supposed to help you in any way when often they’ve taken off your name and anything that points to you is beyond me, but this is what people say.)
- What they did is so great you should be paying them for what they did and you are a terrible, terrible person for even questioning them.
NPR News Story about the event
This article from NPR spells out the original situation once the plagiarism was discovered and the initial responses by both the people involved and other people who discovered the story on the Internet.
As it was shown that the magazine had operated this way (acting as if the internet was all public domain and stealing content) for years, it was unable to stay in business as the publication and even its advertisers were swept up in a wave of angry social media. The magazine has now completely ceased operation as reported in this news article.
Statement as Reposted
Although the magazine took down its internet site, before it did it posted a statement about the situation. This text was reprinted on several sites and appears to be genuine. The copyedited version is a bit tongue and cheek, but is accurate while being funny. It’s worth a read.
This whole mess also drives home two points about citation as well.
- Just changing a few words around does not cut it. If you are using someone else’s idea you have to give them credit if it’s an academic paper or pay them if it’s anything else.
- Note the date you reference a website. They can disappear.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.