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Building on others work is an accepted and essential part of working in IT, claiming others work is unethical and often illegal. My latest article looks at Plagiarism in the Computer Field

Check it out and let me know where you draw the line between plagiarism and acceptable use of prior art.

Julie

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I know course material that I have written (for courses that I teach) have been photocopied and are being used by others who are competing against me for business.


Peter F May, Wine Editor
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In computing we aim for standardisation, i.e. programs look and work the same (at least we do now), but someone originally invented that way of working and did the design.

There was a court case in the very early days of PCs after someone copied the idea of the pull down menu bar along the top of the screen (same as you can see now on your browser) That was invented by Lotus for their 1-2-3 spreadsheet and they took copiers to law.

Another example is the MS-Windows 'recycle bin' that came in when IBM & Microsoft were developing the OS/2 GUI for PCs (that MS later called Windows NT) -- they copied Apple's 'waste bin'* but had to rename it because of legal fears.



*can't remember now whether Apple calls it waste bin or trash can or ...


Peter F May, Wine Editor
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Peter - Do you think that the common attempt to make things seem easy to use due to a familiar look and feel or interface leads to people in the field taking intellectual property less seriously?

Julie

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That's a deep question smile

On balance I don't think so because programs are subject to scrutiny and commercial programs and companies are aware of copyright laws, protecting their own intellectual property and ensuring they don't infringe others.

A new generation brought up on the web, encouraged to interact with facebook, twitter and blogs and empowered by cut'n'paste to fill them with images have the belief that they can take anything for free - pictures, words, movies, music -- and it is their 'right'.


Peter F May, Wine Editor
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This continues to be an issue. Here's a couple more articles I've found elsewhere about plagiarism in the IT field:

Is 2010 The Year of the Plagiarized Security Book by Ben Rothke

and

(More)(Massive) Plagiarism in Security Books by Wesley McGrew

Julie

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There is at least one company that have on Amazon hundreds of 'books' which are nothing more than straight 'cut'n'pastes' from Wikipedia.


Peter F May, Wine Editor
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And no one has done anything about this? Unbelievable!

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The cut and paste Wikipedia books are actually legal because of the licensing on Wikipedia the way the books are attributed, but given the prices, it's just a slimy way of making money off people.

The people claiming to have written security books that they didn't are getting their reputations trashed. In the case of the one real publisher (versus self-published) involved in plagiarized security books, the person who provided the plagiarized content was also the technical editor who was responsible for making sure that all content was original. They republished the whole book and made the new version of that section available free online as well.

Julie

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Glad to hear this. Thanks for the info.

Originally Posted By: Julie - Computer Careers
The cut and paste Wikipedia books are actually legal because of the licensing on Wikipedia the way the books are attributed, but given the prices, it's just a slimy way of making money off people.

The people claiming to have written security books that they didn't are getting their reputations trashed. In the case of the one real publisher (versus self-published) involved in plagiarized security books, the person who provided the plagiarized content was also the technical editor who was responsible for making sure that all content was original. They republished the whole book and made the new version of that section available free online as well.

Julie


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