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PLAGIARISM  September 2009

PLAGIARISM September 2009

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Subject:

Re: Plagiarism in software industry + plagiarism policies

From:

Diane Pecorari <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Plagiarism <[log in to unmask]>, Diane Pecorari <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 13 Sep 2009 09:52:59 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Earlier posts in this thread have agreed that 

> in the academic community, we absolutely reject it [copying].

but also that in regulatory texts such as EULAs, it's beneficial to have a standard wording.

In a study I did some years ago of university plagiarism policies*, I found such striking similarities of wording over relatively long passages that I was forced to conclude that copying had occurred. Assuming that that was the correct interpretation (i.e., that the similarity was due to copying, not coincidence), is that something the academic community rejects as plagiarism? Or welcomes, to the extent it suggests that we're consistent across universities? Is there consensus in the academic community about this?

Diane


* Pecorari, D. (2001). Plagiarism and international students: how the English-speaking university responds, in D. Belcher and A. Hirvela (Eds.). Linking literacies: Perspectives on L2 reading-writing connections. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 229-245.

Diane Pecorari
Coordinator, English Studies
School of Education, Culture & Communication
Mälardalen University

Box 883
721 23 Västerås
SWEDEN

+46 21 151702

[log in to unmask]

http://www.mdh.se/ihu/personal/dpi/



-----Original Message-----
From: Plagiarism [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Mike Brough
Sent: den 12 september 2009 13:25
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Plagiarism in software industry

Hi folks

And I believe one or two universities have developed their procedures and regulations by deriving it from other universities! That's plagiarism too.
In the narrow sense of the term.

Ideally, something which is required in standard form should be developed by the community (e.g. UK academics, working with JISC) should develop standard material, review and agree it, Then release it as shared material and all refer to it.

This is what happened when I worked in standards (BSI and ISO). But, sadly, industry and communities are lazy, and de jure standards are even rarer than de facto standards.

So copying is rife. And unavoidable. It is not a problem in many communities. But in the academic community, we absolutely reject it. It misleads on who is responsible for work (stealing credit). It also makes it hard to follow the evidence trail back from claims to the original evidence (data) is we claim that any position we wish to affirm is supported by the evidence.

The relationship of arguments to the evidence and giving credit to authorities is fundamental to university communities. That is why we reject it.

[The plagiarism in the weapons of mass destruction dossier undermined iots authority in this very way, in my opinion. If part was obviously 'lifted', why should we trust the assertions in the rest of it?]

In the case of someone copying an EULA, I think the argument advanced (that of cost) is a reasonable one. Of course, if you pay a lawyer to draft your own EULA, and then you are sued the lawyer is (I think) liable.
If you copy someone else's, you are on your own. For a small company, that is (in my opinion) a pragmatic and reasonable risk. And plagiarsim isn't an issue.

Cheers
Mike Brough
{Retired. University Fellow, Personal opinions. Etc.]



> I worked in the insurance industry for 6 yes and we had what were 
> known as "standard wordings" for policies. These would have been 
> pretty much the same from company to company - in fact it was 
> variations in wordings that both allowed companies to be innovative 
> and got them into trouble. New wordings would be untested in law - and 
> a comma in the wrong place could lead to a costly legal judgement.
> Similarly with employment contracts, wills, tenancy agreements etc.
>
> Because of the very particular nature of contracts and legal docs of 
> this Kind I would be reluctant to call it plagiarism.
>
> Diane
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On 12 Sep 2009, at 06:37, Ken Masters <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Hi All
>>
>> I use a website that allows software developers to advertise their 
>> software by giving it away for a day.  (Use is perpetual, but you 
>> have to register the software on that day).  No, this is not an 
>> advert for the site, but for an issue that was raised in the users' comments.
>>
>> One of the users complained about a condition in the end-user license 
>> agreement (EULA).  The developers responded by apologizing, and then
>> explaining: "Our EULA is just a copy’n'paste of some other EULA, 
>> whi ch is in return a copy’n'paste of something else"
>>
>> My comment to this was "They plagiarised someone else’s eula? And 
>> th en they happily admitted it on a public site? Yikes."
>>
>> To this, a user responded with: "So do the majority of smaller to 
>> mid-sized software developers. Do you *really* think every developer 
>> hires a team of US, EU, Indian etc lawyers to write their legal 
>> disclaimers & docs?"
>>
>> And the developers further responded with: "all EULA all plagiarisms  
>> – meaning that this line exists in ANY EULA. Which according to me 
>> is not a good reason to stil have it. Since we can’t afford 100k$ 
>> in legal consultancies about one line in the EULA...."
>>
>> So, this raises a couple of questions, my first of which is: is this 
>> an accurate depiction?  Is this accepted? If it is, then would the 
>> software industry be happy for their new employess to admit that they 
>> copy-and-pasted their assignments, etc, while they were students?
>>
>> If you're interested, the website discussion is at:
>> http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/tabbles/
>>
>> Regards
>>
>> Ken
>>
>> ---------------------------
>> Ken Masters
>> IT Health Education
>> http://www.ithealthed.com
>> ____/\/********\/\____
>>
>> ***
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