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"Plagarism" and Fair Use was Re: [troosevelt] Check This Out From The Weekly Standard

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  • Dinosaur Interplanetary Gazette
    Perhaps this is not the proper venue for an extended discussion of a functional definition of plagarism, but it s worth mentioning briefly that the line
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 26, 2002
      Perhaps this is not the proper venue for an extended discussion of a functional definition of "plagarism," but it's worth mentioning briefly that the line between so-called "plagarism" and "quotation" has been seriously blurred in recent years.

      Part of our Copyright heritage in the US is the concept of "fair use."  Fair use, of course, is the legal concept under our copyright laws that minor quotations from any work are proper and require no payment to the original author. This is integral to the functioning of education and scholarly research: Fair use assures that the fine work of previous generations will be cited and passed forward to succeeding generations without placing an onerous financial burden on a scholarly writer..

      Somehow -- in a bizarre combination of avarice (on the part of big copyright owners like motion picture companies), the understandable wish to eliminate cheating by college students and, recently,  political revenge -- what was once a common, accepted and benevolent practice of fair use has become suspect and the subject of libels, slanders and lawsuits.

      I was appalled to read this article in today's New York Times which only reinforces my perception of the psychotic fixation that some marginal groups have on what should be, in the world of professional writing, a minor issue of attribution.


      Surely, any human being must rely to some degree or another on the knowledge of others and  those who came before. TR was one of the best read Presidents in history: are we to deny him in retrospect  and others -- including ourselves and our children -- the riches of historical knowledge because of some half-baked idea of the ownership of ideas as expressed by exactly which words are used to express them? Are we all to live in closets for our entire lives for fear of repeating something that someone else already said?

      Let someone try to charge Ministers for quoting from the Bible on Sunday without paying a royalty to the current publisher of the King James or some other translation, and you'll surely see fireworks that will put this all in perspective.

      Edward Summer

      "John A. Gable" wrote:

       The Weekly Standard is also the publication that spread the Ambrose
      nonsense.  I have had dealings with this conservative mag in the past, and I
      was not impressed. The professional standards seemed low. John Gable
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <erogen@...>
      To: <troosevelt@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, January 25, 2002 10:06 AM
      Subject: [troosevelt] Check This Out From The Weekly Standard

      > Here is the latest on the Goodwin plagiarism controversy. A new article in
      the daily digital edition of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
      > Article URL is

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      Dinosaur Interplanetary Gazette - Science, Wisdom, Stupid Jokes
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    • Robert Allen Fairbairn IV
      In its most basic form, a copyright or patent is a combination of grants and reservations whose purpose is to promote innovation and enhance consumer welfare.
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 26, 2002
        In its most basic form, a copyright or patent is a combination of grants and
        reservations whose purpose is to promote innovation and enhance consumer
        welfare. In both the European Union and the United States the limited
        monopoly power granted to holders of Intellectual Property Rights oftentimes
        brings them into direct conflict with those who seek to use these patents
        without attribution or payment.

        According to Black's Law Dictionary, fair use is the "reasonable and limited
        use of a copyrighted work without the author's permission, such as quoting
        from the book *in a book review* or using parts of it *in parody*." This
        "reasonable and limited use" argument may be extended to e-mails and our
        other discussions in this forum or personal exchanges. It does not, however,
        extend to quoting another historian or copying their language without
        attribution in another written copyrighted publication. That is simple

        The Historian's stock and trade are ideas and the words they use to express
        them. In order to construct new interpretive models, historians must fairly
        and accurately cite their sources so others may look at the deep structures
        of their arguments. These sources include and, indeed must include, the
        works of other historians. Failure to attribute language or a theory to the
        true author undermines the underpinnings of historiography and damages, in a
        very real way, the true author's reputation and effort. This is due to the
        fact that the plagiarist is presenting this idea as their own and, by
        copyrighting their work, they are setting themselves as the true owner of
        that idea against the entire world.

        As for "Big Business's" utilization of copyright infringement actions, I
        will leave that matter for an off-list discussion.

        Robert Fairbairn

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