Re:story on plagarism on NPR

On Tue, 21 Jan 1997, Karl Lietzan wrote:
> On Tue, 21 Jan 1997, Christopher Gwyn wrote:
>> On Tue, 21 Jan 1997, Kim Stahl wrote:
>>> Perhaps to most people, it isn't really
>>> plaigarism to download, edit, and reprint a file, whereas photocopying a
>>> dissertation in a library, retyping it, and then publishing it seems
>>> somehow more "wrong." 
>> if your having the information in no way, at no time, deprives
>> someone else from having that information it doesn't feel quite accurate
>> to see the information as "taken" or "stolen".
>> .....be due to misunderstanding that the relevant
>> ownership has nothing to do with possession (or necessarily use). 
> 	I have a slightly different take on the theft of academic work.
> Christopher is right that the victim is *almost* not diminished in any
> way. The degree or the honor won by the original work is not removed when
> the thief presents the stolen work as his own.  (This presumes that the
> copier knows what he has done.)  However the thief is no less
> despicable, and while an anonymous compliment has been paid by the
> plagiarism, an anonymous insult has also been dealt.
	different only in that i didn't elaborate that aspect. the tricky
part is that we are used to thinking that all the forms of "diminishment"
occur together. with digital storage the "insult" that is part of having
your work ripped off is no longer intrinsically linked with anoyone being
deprived of the information - not even for the time it takes to make a
photocopy. (an analogy might be that while there was never a rule that all
food was purple, if you had only seen purple food it would be tempting to
assume that not-purple is also not-food. similarly there seems to be a
feeling that if you can copy it with a few mouseclicks it isn't "property"
the way that a book or cd-rom is....... people often don't go beyond that
to contemplate what sort of "property" it is, if it isn't "that sort of

> 	On a slightly different tack, are we distinguishing between text
> and software? 
	i don't see any reason to.

> All these people are very excited and motivated to create, sell, buy,
> steal, and use this "information in digital form".
	yup, the trick is to figure out ways of handleing it so that
stealing is the least desirable method of acquisition - without being
draconian, intrusive, or restricting the spread and use of information.
	habitual attribution of quotes is part of the solution (i'm
assuming that the "Gwynn 1997" was a misspelling, not a reference to the
writings of a Gwyn with two n's.), and a similar system for payment would
be useful. ("i used twelve lines of code from your game, your share of my
profits is.......")

Christopher Gwyn
5602 Lockridge Rd.
Durham NC 27705-8099 USA