Saturday, June 16, 2007

on plagiarism.

A while ago, I posted a little essay called "Why the Gun is Civilization". It was pretty well received, and got me a lot of positive comments from a variety of people. Some folks asked for permission to reprint and publish the essay in various newsletters and webzines, and I gladly granted it every time, only asking for attribution in return.

Recently, I have noticed my essay pop up on the Internet a lot in various forums, most of which I do not frequent. This in itself causes me no grief, but the reposts are almost invariably attributed to someone who is not me. Some are attributed to a Major L.Caudill, USMC (Ret.), and some are merely marked as "forwarded" by the same person. Others are not attributed at all, giving the impression that the person who posted the essay is also its author.

In school, we call reproduction without attribution "plagiarism". It's usually cause for a failing grade or even expulsion in most college codes of conduct. In the publishing world, we call the same thing "intellectual property theft".

Now, my little blog scribblings are hardly published works in the traditional sense, nor do I incur any financial damage from this unattributed copying, but it's still a matter of honor. I did, after all, sit down and type up that little essay. It may not make it into any print anthologies, but it's mine, and seeing it with someone else's name on the byline is a little annoying. Call it ego, call it vanity, but there it is.

In the end, I guess I should probably shrug it off and tell myself that I can produce something that's worth stealing.

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