Universities fought unionization's 'one-size-fits-all' using identical arguments


The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that grad students working at private universities can form unions, something that the universities themselves have fought tooth-and-nail for years, with elite universities posted FAQs explaining why trade unionism was a bad match for academic institutions: that each academic institution was unique, and so unlike any other place, that collective bargaining just couldn't work. Read the rest

Trump's dumbest son claims Barack Obama plagiarized him


President Obama, in his speech at the DNC, used the phrase "That is not the America I know." Donald Trump Jr. claims this was plagiarism, as he had used the same line in a speech he delivered last week. Read the rest

Plagiarism detection app vs Russia's elites: 1-2 fake PhDs discovered every day

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Dissernet, a leaderless collective of Russian scientists and journalists scrapes the doctoral dissertations of Russian elites -- who have been attaining advanced degrees at an unprecedented rate -- runs them through plagiarism detection software to flag probable frauds for human review, and publishes the names of officials who've been caught cheating, one or two every day. Read the rest

Is Amy Schumer a serial joke thief? Video compilation compares clips, side by side

Amy Schumer [Reuters]

This video is pretty rabid Reddit rage-fodder today.

Certainly, selective video edits by someone with a point to make can be damning where nothing wrong has been done, but--come on. This looks pretty bad.

[From Brandon Farley (MischiefMaker37), YouTube » Reddit]

Looks like there are a bunch of these newly out, via Reddit. But it's been brewing for weeks, or months, really. Vox has a good explainer here. I am not the comedy police, so I do not know.

Read the rest

Novel plagiarist gender-swapped heroine to create gay romance


A plagiarist was caught after eagle-eyed readers spotted the novel Coming Home Texas was nearly identical to My Kind of Trouble, by New York Times bestseller Becky McGraw.

Author Laura Harner's trick, allegedly, was to change a heterosexual romance to a gay male one—hoping, perhaps, that the lack of overlap between the two audiences would be enough to escape notice.

In the age of book search, though, that's not how these things go down: despite changing words, ages, names and descriptors, even the most superficial comparison demonstrates the lifting.

In one scene, "Since she’d gotten the call from Imelda, the closest thing to a mother that Cassie had known since her own mother died when she was ten" becomes "Since he’d gotten the call from Isabella – the closest thing to a mother that he’d known since his own mom died when he was nine."

The Guardian's Alison Flood reports that legal action is pending, and that the plagiarist has admitted mistakes were made. The astonishing speed at which Harner's novels are published suggests many more of them may have been made.

“Her book was almost a word-for-word, scene-for-scene duplication of my book, except the characters’ names had been changed, and short M/M love scenes had been inserted,” said McGraw. “The only scene she didn’t include was the epilogue, which couldn’t be altered to an M/M scene. It involved the heroine in labour and the hero having sympathetic labour pains.”

In a better world, we learned of this because the final birth scene had remained in the plagiarized M/M version of the story. Read the rest

Japan pulls Olympics logo under accusations of design plagiarism


"Let's put a red dot here and call it a day." [via] Read the rest

Twitter joke thieves are getting DMCA takedowns


Among professional comedians, joke theft is no joke. Now Twitter is allowing members to use DMCA notices to take down tweets posted by accounts that copy and paste them without attribution. PlagiarismBad's name-and-shame campaign has already netted a few celebrities. Read the rest

Who is Shia LaBeouf plagiarizing this time: rap group Anomolies

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 10.16.27 AM

Remember when Shia LaBeouf plagiarized a Daniel Clowes comic book story almost word-for-word and made a short film about it? When he was found out, he tweeted a series of apologies, which turned out to be plagiarized, too. I interview Clowes at Meltdown comic in Hollywood last month and I asked him for an update about his experience with the serial plagiary. Here's the video, queued up to part in the interview where he talked about it:

Clowes explained that LaBeouf had powerful "motherfucker" lawyers who would have ground Clowes into hamburger, had Clowes not had his own motherfuckers to make sure LaBeouf paid Clowes for using his work without permission.

A few days ago LaBeouf released a video demonstrating his freelance rap skills. But it didn't take long for the original lyricist to come forth:

The NY Daily News reports:

Rap group Anomolies called LaBeouf out on Instagram, claiming that his flow comes from their song "Perfectionist," which was written in 1999.

"You can't rip songs from my ANOMOLIES crew, recite them in a freestyle as your own, get credit for it, then not expect to be called out by ACTUAL MCs!" the post stated.

From Watch Loud:

At the the 2:23 mark in his video LaBeouf hushes the crowd and says “The rare commodity, the quality is what it’s gotta be, and my philosophy is farther than what your eyes can see.”

However, on the 1999 track “Perfectionist” you can clearly hear Helixx spit at the 45 second mark, “I recon you want more of that rare commodity/the quality is what it’s gotta be/ and my philosophy is much farther than what your eyes can see.”

Later on in their track you can hear the “Gas mask/last laugh” punchline as well.

Read the rest

Art swipeur Cody Foster & Co wanted alleged victim to submit to gag order and delete complaints

Cody Foster & Co is an art-swiping tchotcke maker, used by big retailers to source fashionable cloneware they want to sell. Accused last year of ripping off a batch of independent designers, Cody Foster wanted to settle. Fast Company's John Brownlee reports the incredible conditions they want to impose on the victim.

Cody Foster's conditions? That the independent designer accusing the company of piracy license her designs to Cody Foster & Co. for $650 and submit to a gag order, deleting any complaints about the company from the web. ... Smith and her attorneys initially declined the offer, indicating that $650 was not worth a gag order on what they had been through, and reached out to Co.Design. Since then, Cody Foster's attorneys have indicated that they are willing to discuss a larger payment in exchange for licensing Smith's designs. As of publication, this remains unresolved.
Read the rest

Daily Mail plagiarism surprises few

It's easy to spot the superficial rewriting of others' work when they're lists and you haven't changed so much as a single item. [TNW] Previously. Read the rest

Jonah Lehrer's comeback proposal

Jonah Lehrer got caught. Jonah Lehrer got a new book deal anyway. Then, Jonah Lehrer got caught again, according to Slate's Daniel Engber: "He’ll recycle and repeat, he’ll puke his gritty guts out." Read the rest

Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research rips off writer, threatens to sue him for plagiarism

Since at least 2001, Colin Purrington, a former Swarthmore Evolutionary Biology prof, has been publishing a great guide to conference posters that is widely read and linked. It's also widely plagiarized, and Purrington sends notices to people whom he catches passing it off as their own work, asking them to remove it. Normally, this works.

But not in the case of The Consortium for Plant Biotechnology Research, Inc., a company that receives millions in federal grants to fund biotech research. When Purrington sent CPBR an email telling them off for plagiarizing him, they responded by accusing him of being the plagiarist, threating him with massive damages, and demanding that he remove his own work immediately and permanently.

Purrington responded with a pretty good note about the whole awful mess. Though I think he overstates the copyright case here. In particular, he discounts out of hand the idea that reproduction in educational contexts can't be fair use; this is just wrong -- fair use is fact intensive, and educational use tilts the scales in favor of a successful defense. On the other hand, plagiarism (though not illegal) is a cardinal sin in education, and educators who pass off his work as their own may not be breaking the law, but they are unambiguously violating a core ethic of education and scholarship.

But back to CPBR. This is not only plagiarism, it's also copyright infringement, and it's copyfraud -- claiming copyright on something you hold no rights to. It's unethical, it's illegal, and it's fraudulent. Read the rest

Calling out Jane Goodall for a plagiarism and error-filled book

Jane Goodall's new book isn't just filled with plagiarism, writes Michael Moynihan at The Daily Beast, it also drastically misconstrues agricultural science and presents poor sources — for instance, books published by the Maharishi University of Management and written by people with no scientific training at all are probably not the best sources to use if you're trying to build a legitimate case against the technology of genetic engineering. Read the rest

Copyright, plagiarism and the Internet

My latest Guardian column is "Internet copyright law has to have public support if it's going to work," and it goes into the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism, and tries to understand why so many people got upset at Glee's legal ripoff of a Jonathan Coulton song:

Copyright experts were quick to explain that Fox's plagiarism was legal – the same rules that allowed Coulton to record his cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot's original "Baby Got Back" also allow Fox to produce a sound-alike version. But it's shoddy, because it is, at heart, a lie.

(Coulton got his own back on Fox: he rereleased his own "Baby Got Back" and billed it as a cover of the Glee version, with proceeds to charity – it climbed the iTunes chart while the Fox version was clobbered by angry Coulton fans who gave it one-star reviews)

Why does Fox's sin stick in the internet's craw? I think it's because Fox hasn't just wronged Coulton: they've wronged the public. We have been misled about the origin of a product we're being asked to purchase.

This is different from, say, a fake designer handbag that's offered as a cheap knockoff, where there's no intent to fool the purchaser, who understands that a 99% discount on a Vuitton bag means that it's really a "Vuitton" bag.

This kind of plagiarism is more like selling horsemeat labelled as beef burgers. Horsemeat can be perfectly harmless, and many people happily eat it, but when you buy beef burgers, you expect that you're getting what you paid for.

Read the rest

Jonathan Coulton responds to Fox/Glee's plagiarism of his song by "covering" it and making rival version available for sale

You'll have heard that Jonathan Coulton's iconic cover of Baby's Got Back was plagiarised by the Fox TV show "Glee" (it's not the first time). Coulton's story has been widely reported, but Fox/Glee have remained shameless about this.

Coulton's got a brilliant solution to this: he's released a "cover" of Glee's plagiarized version of his song, put it on Itunes as a rival to the official Fox version, and has announced that the proceeds will go to charity.

Jonathan Coulton ‘Covers’ Glee’s Ripoff of ‘Baby Got Back,’ Puts It on iTunes, Proceeds Go to Charity (Thanks, Larry!) Read the rest

More plagiarism from Glee

Last weekend, I blogged about Jonathan Coulton's discovery that the TV show Glee had plagiarized his arrangement for "Baby's Got Back."

Now, the magnificent DJ Earworm writes, "This is my call-out tweet from last February, expressing surprise at the similarities between Glee's arrangement and my own which had aired just a few months previously. I didn't think much about it, but I read that Jonathan Coulton story, and it seemed so similar to my own experience, I thought I'd share."

@AfroBlueDC sang MY mashup on NBC last Nov. … Now I find out @GLEEonFOX aired/sells SAME combo?! (Thanks, DJ Earworm) Read the rest

Jonathan Coulton: Glee plagiarized my arrangement of "Baby Got Back"

Jonathan Coulton has publicly shamed Fox for plagiarizing his arrangement for "Baby's Got Back" on its TV show "Glee":

Writing on Techdirt, Mike Masnick has a good, nuanced view of how this kind of thing works:

Yes, his is a cover song, but he introduced some variations that appear to be directly copied in Glee. Is there a potential copyright claim here? Well, that depends -- and the copyright law here is complex. You can cover a song by paying compulsory license fees, and Fox likely did that to whoever holds the copyright on the original. But they copied specific changes (and possibly the music) that Coulton added, which, could potentially be covered by his own copyright (of course, whether or not he registered them could also impact what he could do about it). And, let's not even get into the issue of things like sync licenses for video, and the (still open) question of whether or not Glee actually used part of Coulton's own recording.

In the end, though, almost none of that probably matters. Because Coulton seems unlikely (we hope) to go legal here. Instead, he's just going with the public shame route -- with a simple tweet about the situation, which has set off "the internet" to help him make his case and embarrass Fox and Glee.

Jonathan Coulton Publicly Shames Fox For Copying His Arrangement In Glee Read the rest

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