Wrap Up: Game Guide Plagiarism

It’s been a slower week for plagiarism news on the Web. Though classrooms have been buzzing about the issue as schools ramp back up, the issue has been mostly quiet on the Internet as it relates to copyright holders.

Nonetheless, there’s been a few incidents needing some discussion so, without any further ado, here’s a look at what’s been going on this week in plagiarism.

1up.com Accused of Plagiarism

1up.com, a popular video game site owned by Ziff Davis Media, which also owns EGM Magazine, was recently involved in a plagiarism scandal after one of the site’s strategy guides was found to be using borrowed content from another site.

The guide, which was for the fighting game Dead or Alive 4, used large sections of text from the forums at DoA Central. Almost immediately after the guide was posted, and uproar started on the DoA Central as several members began pointing out the similarities and more obvious incidents of lifting.

The controversy reached its peak when Slashdot posted an article on the plagiarism, drawing world-wide attention to the issue.

1up.com, for their part, removed the guide briefly as they researched the matter. They then reposted it a short time later with an editor’s note thanking DoA Central, especially their member VirtuaPai, for their contributions to the guide.

This attribution after the fact seemed to satisfy most of DoA Central’s members.

Richard Li, the author of the guide and the cheats editor for EGM Magazine, has had no comment through this incident. Though EGM has commented on his behalf, calling the matter an oversight and saying that Li had written most of the guide himself, Li himself not spoken up and, furthermore, EGM has not said what, if anything will change following this, both in regards to Li himself and any editorial policies.

In the end though, this issue delves into some very interesting elements of copyright law including copyrighting facts, rather than copyrighting creative works. Many of these issues, we will discuss later.

Splog Challenge Issued

Randy Morin, the author of the “Destroy All Malware” blog issued a splogger challenge to 301powered.com, in which he called out the site as a splog and wanted to see how long it would survive after being dealt such a public blow.

The owner of the site in question, a person using the name Siddartha, wrote a response to the accusations to Morin, who in turn posted the reply on his site. The reply said in part that 301powered.com was not a splog, which he says is a “Weblog that the only goal is to make trafic [sic] and clicks to make money with no content,” but a legitimate aggregating service that combined several blogs into one.

This argument was bolstered, at least somewhat, by the presence of credit links on each of the articles. However, this incident has sparked a very heated debate on the issue of aggregation sites and their place in the blogging world.

While some see aggregate sites as a huge convenience for visitors, others see them as a an attempt to leech traffic off of content creators without adding any new value. It’s a debate that is far from over.

[tags]Plagiarism, Splogs, Splogging, RSS, Splog, Copyright Infringement, Content Theft[/tags]

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