Friday, February 19, 2010

Are Millennials at the forefront of plagiarism?

Sara Libby writes in the CSMonitor that the "Hegemann view" of intellectual property could reflect that of an entire generation:

“There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity,” Hegemann said in a statement. That view is hardly an outlier. Expect to see more of this approach to intellectual property as Millennials (sometimes called Generation Y) come to dominate culture.

Flash to Libby: the Harvard Business Review did "Plagiarize with Pride" when Hegemann was likely doing Saturday morning cartoons, and the guys that wrote "Plagiarize with Pride" are not members of Generation Y (or X, for that matter).

Libby also wrote:

This is precisely the defense mounted by artist Shepard Fairey, who created that iconic Obama “Hope” poster that is plastered across Millennial bedroom doors throughout the country. Is it any wonder that the young people who seized on that manipulated image, which many argue violated copyright law, have a similar outlook on their own works?

Flash to Libby: Fairey lied about the underlying photograph, and Lemley et al. dropped the Fairey case at a speed faster than light. Fairey does not have much of a defense.

Libby's text:

Hegemann is right that members of Gen Y, who’ve grown up accustomed to “crowd-sourced” technology, or online tools like Wikipedia, which encourage members to collaborate and build on one another’s expertise to form a more substantive description of a person or event, are bound to have a more flexible outlook on “borrowing” and the meaning of originality

might have come from Mike Masnick and Techdirt, BUT Libby goes in a different direction:

But I also went to a solid journalism school that instilled me with plenty of old-old-school values, many of which I don’t think are forgiving when it comes to lifting another person’s writing or insights without also admitting where you got them.

Of course, Zachery Kouwe went to a swell journalism school, but plagiarized anyway. And, let us not forget the flap at the University of Missouri, home of a well-known journalism school where the accused plagiarist was an emeritus professor who likely doesn't know about Gen Y.

And, yes, Mike Masnick is still at it. See
Winning Essay In High School Ethics Writing Competition Argues That File Sharing Isn't Wrong including:

He argues that there are a variety of reasons why kids still engage in unauthorized file trading, but one of them is that they just don't think copyright laws are morally justified. Instead, they see the benefit and the opportunities presented in easier sharing and distribution of works, allowing more people to hear and discover new artists, while opening up lots of new potential business models. All good stuff

Yes, plagiarism is a good business model for the plagiarist.


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