[FoRK] The Kaavya Viswanathan ("Harvard Novelist") plagiarism case

mattj at newsblip.com < mattj at newsblip.com > on > Tue Apr 25 14:00:59 PDT 2006

Quoting "Ian Andrew Bell (FoRK)" <fork at ianbell.com>:

> Like most media, they live in a collusive universe of collective
> plausible deniability.  They'd never welcome such a service.

On the one hand, I see that.  On the other hand, if a publisher  
subscribes to this service, they can say they did all one could  
reasonably expect; they hired a professional service.  What's the  
downside to subscribing?  Only cost, AFAICT, and with automation it  
needn't be much.

The downside to _not_ subscribing is that, potentially, an author who  
has been plagiarized could sue the publisher for additional damages,  
for reckless indifference, or some such thing (IANAL).  "Members of  
the jury, had the defendant just used this cheap, automated service,  
as all other major publishers do, they could have easily avoided this  
whole problem."  It's a Pinto moment.

(Actually, since "A Million Little Pieces" fell apart, Oprah has  
pushed publishers to do far more fact-checking with their nonfiction.  
She directs so much of the book-buying public that the publishers are  

Matt Jensen

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