Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate


Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


A Copyright Firewall Against Anti-plagiarism Efforts?

I'm all against plagiarism. But can there be institutional overreach in trying to guard against it? Can anti-plagiarism efforts create more problems than the underlying offense? I haven't really thought about the issue much. I'm just throwing it out there.

What is interesting, however, is that some students are pressing the issue with a copyright lawsuit.


If copyright were abolished...

Students could cut and paste edited articles from other authors/publications.

They needn't actually write any 'original' material themselves.

They should be obliged to credit their sources of course, perhaps even indicate (without too much distraction) which author wrote what.

As long as the student is honest about it, this is not plagiarism.

The moment the student lies and claims authorship of another's work is the moment they get the book thrown at them.

Of course, a student has a right to determine whether their work is published (and their college cannot claim this right is theirs via 'a work for hire'), but that is a separate issue from the ability for the college to compare their work (without release) with other published works.

Of course, an easy get out clause is simply for the student to declare that they have cut & pasted various edited texts, but they've forgotten precisely which bits they wrote and which bits someone else wrote. Demerits for incompetence. But, then the student can also submit their work to a text comparison service and cite insertions accordingly.

Copying is good. Lying is wrong.

As a law professor once told me, "Copying one author in your paper will be considered 'plagiarism'. Copying more than two will be considered 'research'."

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