Ten or 15 years ago, cheap desktop publishing software and laser printers unleashed a era of hideous newsletters and brochures. People were free to design with typefaces and write words, but knew little (or eve less) of design and editing. The era of bad design and poor writing is, alas, not yet over; my daughter's figure skating club's most recent newsletter was written in all caps.
In 2005, we have cheap Internet access and even cheaper Weblog hosting services acting an enablers for unleashing a new generation of non-writers involved in clueless self-editing. Mainstream media complains of bloggers lacking fact checkers and layers of editors, but all that extra overhead doesn't prevent the Newsweeks and CBSs from screwing up royally.
My concern, and that of other writers and editors, is plagerism. Numerous blogs copy whole sections of text from other sources. I suppose this takes its cue from the semi-legal samples found in hip-hop music, but it is the Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V keystrokes that are really to blame: it's so easy.
Plagerism, strictly speaking, is intellectual property theft. Plagerists are lazy people who pretend that someone else's writing is their own. They are not smart enough to have their own thoughts. Wholesale copying, the way that some blogs do, is wrong for these reasons:
1. Laziness: it’s a way for a blog to fill its pages by simple copy’n paste.
2. Lack of Value: a valuable blog adds opinion and/or facts to another’s posting.
3. Abuse: by posting entire articles, there is no incentive for readers to visit the source blog, thereby depriving the original author of a larger audience.
Last week, CAD journalist Randall Newton had problem with a CAD blog named "BlogCAD." The blog engages in wholesale copying of articles, albeit with a source reference at the end. Not plagerism, but certainly violation of copyright.
Mr Newton had this to say:
Blogging is not about copying word-for-word the work of others; it is about having a conversation. I am pleased when BlogCAD mentions an article I have written at AECnews, and provides a link.
But I am offended when you copy the entire text of the article and publish it as if it were your own, even if you do attribute the source. Articles published at AECnews.com are the copyright property of Cyon Research. BlogCAD is not authorized to republish the content.
Please remove all instances where you have copied AECnews articles immediately. You may continue to mention articles we have published, and provide a link.
Mr Newton made his request May 28; four days later, no response, other than BlogCAD continuing to post entire articles.