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Plagiarism, Copyright and Social Media

Plagiarism, Copyright and Social Media

Full ImageUpdate: I made an error in my original reporting. The Press Gazette was attributed in the original Mirror Tweet, I simply missed it. I apologize for that error. However, the Bilton tweet did not provide any @ attribution, so some interesting questions are still raised and are worth discussing…

I was recently tipped off by Twitter user Beilinglaoshi about a Twitter plagiarism controversy that is taking place between The Daily Mirror and its The Mirror Style account and The New York Times, specifically reporter Nick Bilton’s account.

The controversy centers around two tweets. The first was on May 25th by The Mirror, which featured a 1985 article/graphic from The Press Gazette about how it predicted reporters would work in the then-future. It included an image of the article with a water for @TheMirrorStyle.

A day later, Bilton posted a similar tweet with the same image (including watermark) but did not indicate it was a retweet or a modified tweet.

The move prompted The Mirror to respond, asking if Bilton was “the heir to Jayson Blair?” the famous New York Times reporter who was fired for plagiarism, falsification and other ethical lapses.

While it’s a hyperbolic statement and the controversy doesn’t seem to have gained a lot of traction, The Mirror’s allegations have only received 6 retweets as of this writing, the story is an interesting one as it pertains to how attribution, copyright and plagiarism are viewed in social media.

That’s true for one simple reason: While there’s a debate whether Bilton should have listed his tweet as a retweet or a modified tweet, there’s no discussion about the use of content from the Press Gazette or if they were adequately attributed for their part, namely the original content.Continue Reading