Thursday, November 27, 2008

Publicizing shoplifters vs. publicizing plagiarists

A mall in Staten Island flashes pictures of convicted shoplifters:

Every six minutes, digital billboards in the Staten Island Mall will flash the photos of five convicted shoplifters for 15 seconds. These ads will appear on eight and nine-foot-tall plasma screens dubbed "Smart Screens," that have a 65-inch digital display.

"I wanted to do something just to warn people who might have ideas about shoplifting," Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan told Larry McShane, a staff writer at "The New York Daily News."

Shoplifting is a crime; the general population knows what it is, and these people were convicted.

In the K.Y. Cha matter against Bruce Flamm, Cha made much of the fact that he had not been "convicted" of plagiarism. In fact, there is no crime of plagiarism, and what it means, at least to some, is a bit iffy. Glenn Poshard was found to have committed "unintentional" plagiarism, but not intentional plagiarism, according to a panel convened by SIU. Did he copy without attribution. Yes. Allison Routman copied parts of three sentences from Wikipedia, related to historical facts, and this act was deemed an honor code violation by a group of professors, and Allison walked the plank. A university president in California copied a Thanksgiving greeting from someone else, and an ethics professor said this was mere copying, not rising to the level of plagiarism. This involved "ghostwriting," as the copying was done by someone else on behalf of the president, who signed the greeting, much as the Laurence Tribe matter involved ghostwriting more than plagiarism by Tribe, who nevertheless did sign the work.

Part of the problem with exposure is that there is no clear definition of what plagiarism is. Copying without attribution should be simple enough. But is it? There was a fair understanding of what happened in the Cha matter with KJOG and "Fertility and Sterility." But Cha took issue with "convicted of plagiarism." Nobody really discussed Biden's plagiarism at Syracuse during the election, but Biden copied five pages without attribution. The word "plagiarism" has a bad connotation, but the acts which constitute plagiarism are a bit fuzzy.

See also

**Note also

AP reports: In the past year, 30 percent of U.S. high school students have stolen from a store and 64 percent have cheated on a test, according to a new, large-scale survey suggesting that Americans are too apathetic about ethical standards.
Thirty-six percent said they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment, up from 33 percent in 2004.
Despite such responses, 93 percent of the students said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77 percent affirmed that "when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know."

**footnote on "publicizing"

eplay.typepad wrote of the story of Lois Feldman: I feel kind of sorry for Lois Feldman. In an interview - She said her life was devastated, or something to that effect..... The Metrodome Sex Mom was caught having sex in a public restroom during the Minnesota/Iowa Football Game with someone she never met. She was drunk, arrested, and released to her husband. Lois was fired from her job at an assisted living center- and her name will live in infamy as a Google search term.

IPBiz notes that there will likely be more Google hits for Lois Feldman, than for Loye Young's plagiarists.

eplay also wrote: Consult a lawyer over your firing (See #3) In Calif- you can't be fired if you have a medical condition. One might think about that, and also about the ADA. The issue might be the publicity, not the drunkeness, but this is a different story.

MyFoxTwinCities covered the story in a piece titled Iowa Woman Caught Having Sex in Metrodome Blames Alcohol which concluded: Lois Feldman said her attorney has encouraged her to fight the ticket. "He feels I was taken advantage of in my state of mind," she said. "This is not me. We're a very good family. This shouldn't happen."

Also Woman in Metrodome sex incident says she was victim


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