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Plagiarism doesn't pay, it costs
About North Georgia

Randy's Corner

About North Georgia's publisher Randy Golden contributes a look into life in north Georgia, the Web, or anything that's on his mind.

Hello, friends

People say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I have to laugh each time I see an article strangely familiar to me, then realize that it was taken mostly from a piece that had been originally published on About North Georgia or another site in Golden Ink's "Georgia Network." Luckily, most people don't plagiarize (take another person's writing word for word) and rarely do they engage in copyright infringement (publish another person's work under your name) but it does happen.

In the past year Golden Ink has been involved in numerous copyright infringement battles. I am glad that none of them have had to go to court. Surprising in the experience is the larger the group, the easier it is to get the copyrighted material removed. For example, a recent case with a University of Maryland honors student involved his taking of a piece I wrote on the American Revolution in Georgia (which I am currently expanding for Sam Taylor's site, Our Georgia History). I wrote the IT department of the University who had the material removed in less than 24 hours, then requested that I send a written statement to a review board on the student's actions.

Some Civil War fans think its alright to copy research, then present it as their own. I spent hours writing a chronology of the Atlanta Campaign only to find it on another site, credited to the site owner. The owner refused to take the piece off their site! Luckily a call and letter to the ISP changed the mind of the infringer. Later an author found his piece on the site of a financial museum that had been featured on CNN. After proving that his work predated theirs (its actually pretty easy to do), they removed the piece from the site.

As crazy as it sounds, authors occasionally do the same thing. Julie Shively in her book, The Ideals Guide to American Civil War Places, lifted 5 sentences from a piece I wrote and published on the web (page 191, in the National Cemetery verbiage). I always considered this to be accidental, since this is the only example of plagiarism of my work in her book. This kind of mistake I am willing to accept.

In our Cherokee section I wrote a piece on "The Trail of Tears," since published in an 11th grade textbook. Each year I receive mail from teachers who let me know that "...3 students turned in your Trail of Tears article as their own..." or something like that. Flattering indeed, but not a good idea for the students, as the University of Maryland honors student found out. He was reprimanded and had to take the course over.


Randy Golden, Publisher


Randy's Corner
Notes from our publisher, Randy Golden

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