Thanks for the clarification, Russ.


Russ Hunt wrote:

>I probably shouldn't have said "nothing to do," because they can 
>overlap.  But they are quite different concerns, and entirely 
>>Russ, why are you saying that
>>>  Copyright has _nothing to do_ with plagiarism.  Nothing. They are 
>>>separate issues? 
>A student writing a paper is not publishing it, and it's a 
>private matter: it can't violate copyright unless it harms the 
>owner of the copyright by depriving her of potential revenue, 
>and in order to do that it has to be public.  Further, an idea 
>can't be copyrighted; only the _expression_ of the idea can be 
>copyrighted, so that if I paraphrase I don't violate copyright 
>(though I might still be plagiarising). A copyright violation is 
>irrelevant to whether it's plagiarism or not: if I copy your 
>article and publish it as signed by you, I've still violated 
>your copyright. In fact, that's usually the case: copyright 
>originated to keep someone else from printing your work and 
>selling it without paying anything to you.  Who _signed_ it was 
>irrelevant, and if your name were one to conjure with, the 
>pirate would want to publish it with your name on it.
>Part of the reason I feel strongly about this is that people 
>like want to confuse the two, making student 
>plagiarism seem a much bigger deal than it is, making it seem 
>even a criminal matter.  I didn't realize this till at a 
>conference a couple of years ago a presenter from the Columbia 
>law school (I think) walked us through their Web page, 
>explaining how many falsehoods and weasle-implications were on 
>it. Since then they've taken that stuff down.
>Plagiarism is a matter of honesty (when it's dishonest and not 
>simply mistaken, which, IMHO, is most of the time), but not a 
>criminal or legal matter. Even Jayson Blair could only be fired, 
>not prosecuted.
>>And re posting one's published articles on the Internet: I
>>stopped doing that because copyright transfer forms often
>>have a clause that prevents one from doing that. Since I have
>>transferred copyright to the publisher, won't I be violating
>>the copyright agreement if I post the paper? 
>It's one of my few remaining vices from the days when I embraced 
>civil disobedience. I figure if Heinemann wants to sue me for 
>$325, they're welcome to. The amounts of money involved in this 
>stuff are too trivial to bother with: copyright is about Disney, 
>and mp3 files, and maybe textbooks. My article was written and 
>published so that my colleagues could read it, not so that 
>someone who happened to control a printing press could profit 
>from restraining its circulation. 
>-- Russ

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