Plagiarism and copyright news is more in the public eye now than ever. With politicians, journalists and authors alike getting caught up in plagiarism scandals, world copyright and IP treaties creating controversy and technology pushing the boundaries as to what is and is not copyright infringement, one can hardly keep up.
Nonetheless, it’s important that we at least try. After all, what’s going on in the world around us directly affects our own fight to prevent plagiarism at home.
So, without any further ado, here’s a look at what’s been going on this week in plagiarism and copyright news.
South African Poet Lashes Back at Plagiarism Allegations
Antjie Krog, an award-winning South African poet and author of the book Country of my Skulls has been accused of plagiairism by Stephen Watson, a fellow poet and head of University of Cape Town’s English Department.
Watson claims that Krog lifted the concept of her 2004 book on Bushmen poetry from an anothology he published in 1991. He goes on to say that Krog has lifted other matrial from British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and at least two nineteenth century linguists.
For her part, Krog says that the allegations are totally false and are merely an attempt to “destroy her”. Random House, her publisher, is even looking at the possibility of filing suit against Watson over these charges. Krog is also seeking a right to reply in the journal which carried the initial allegations.
Needless to say, this issue is far from resolved and I will be updating this blog as I hear more about it.
Mary Higgins Clark Involved in Copyright
In a somewhat similar case, novelist Mary Higgins Clark, has been accused of plagiarizing her 29th book, “The Second Time Around”, from a screenplay by a little-known Israeli author named Dalia Gal. In a lawsuit filed by Gal, she claims that Clark lifted substantial portions of her screenplay “Immortalin” for her book. The portions include the overall plot and many key scenes in the book.
Clark, however, says that she never heard of Gal before the lawsuit was filed and has never even read any of her work. She called the allegations “blatant nonsense” and is also enjoying the support of her publisher, Simon & Schuster.
Much like the previous case, this one is far from resolved and I will be providing updates on it as things develop.
U.S. Copyright Head Admits Lack of Support for Webcasting Restrictions
Finally, in a bit of international copyright news, Mary-Beth Peters, the US Register of Copyrights, has admitted that the rest of the world “totally rejects” the U.S.-backed webcasting restriction that would require people seeing to rebroadcast material on the Web to not only get permission from the creator of the work, but also the person hosting it.
The new law, which would directly affect both podcasters and other webcasters, has been heavily criticized by copyleft organizations such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation. WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, which is a part of the United Nations, has been considering the treaty for some time, however, this is the first time that the United States has openly admitted that its webcasting provision is unpopular on the global scene.
It will be very interesting to see where this one goes over time and, once again, be assured that Plagiarism Today will be following it.