Saturday, June 8, 2013

How to Monetize Plagiarism

There was an OP-ED opinion, 'How to Monetize Plagiarism' in the New York Times by Joe Nocera that appeared on June 8, 2013.  Upon reading the title, I thought, I would find an interesting OP-ED piece about the flagrant theft of internet original content by plagiarizers, which is rampant on the internet. I thought that Nocera was going to propose a solution for internet plagiarism something like what Apple did for the music industry.  I wanted to comment on this OP-ED piece, but found out that Joe had closed comments on the piece real quickly, as most of the comments were very unfavorable.  So, here goes my response here instead.

Just think what we could do.  We could set up a system whereby anybody could register their content as original, then the system would troll the internet looking for scoffers.  Then, the system would assess a small fee (or any fee that the content owner wanted to collect for his or her original content) on the scoffer. Some of the fee would be used to pay the owner of the content a royalty for its use, and the remainder would be used to support the system and also to pay for the costly litigation to enforce the payment of the fees by the scoffers, or, they would have to face the consequences in a judicial forum.

I'm not sure what the outcome would be. It might result in a lot less plagiarism on the internet. Or, it might result that people would be enticed to use some choice plagiarized content if the fee is not too exorbitant.  Sort of like subcontracting the building of a story or whatever.

I'm not saying that my idea goes without problems that have to be worked out.  What happens if someone, for example, plagiarizes content that was plagiarized from yet another individual?  Who gets the royalty?  Who gets to decide the rules for plagiarizing? Is it plagiarized if proper citation is included, in which case, should the fee be imposed or not, or should it be at a reduced rate?  I'm sure that there are many other problems with my proposal. If you want to chime in with a comment here, be my guest.

However, Nocera chose to use his valuable column to haunt two people who probably have been shamed enough for their crimes against humanity. The two journalists who were caught either fabricating facts or plagiarizing other peoples content in their work.  I am not going to propagate their names or squander my reader's time by repeating their acts or their names.  By the way, I don't even know if fabricating facts is technically considered plagiarism.  I thought that that was called fiction.  If the claim is that it was supposed to be fact, and turned out to be knowingly fiction, then that must have some other term, like lying, or libel, or something like that.

 Joe Nocera need not be told, "People in glass houses should not throw stones." Oh, is that a plagiarized quote? Please get real Joe.

1 comment:

  1. I suppose you should have also included the case where two people independently write essentially the same statement. Who is the original writer? Is the other a plagiarizer? This is very difficult to implement, for sure. It must be tongue and cheek?