Category Archives: Information Ethics

Readings, posts, etc. on information ethics, plus the whys and hows of giving credit.

Assignment 2: Information Ethics by elor101 (PLAGIARISM)

This youtube video shows great examples on how to avoid plagiarism. Professor Andrew Young, the creator of this video explains different ways on how can people accidentally fall into plagiarism. One of the examples given is that plagiarism can be a really serious offense and some can end up in jail. Like example artist plagiarism other artists songs. This can end up in a lawsuit from the original artist. Meanwhile in school some of the offenses can be failing the assignment, class or even suspension from the school. At the end it gives a really good presentation on how to avoid this by using the right tools like citations and understanding the expectations of the assignment and understanding things we need to be aware of while doing the assignment.

Andrew Young. Youtube.com. Plagiarism: Lesson One. October 22, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly_AeHl4t5M

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Assignmet 2: Information Ethics, Atlantis8219

Copyright Infringement

jonschiffrin, Gucci vs. Guess, Schiffrin and Longo, P.C. Law Office, Oct. 21, 2018, https://www.schiffrinlaw.com/gucci-vs-guess/ 

This case is a good example of copyright infringement, which is the use of a copyrighted work without permission from the owner. In this case Guess used trademarked symbols of a red and green stripe and the GG symbol. Though they tried to use these in a different and creative way they were still copyrighted and owned by Gucci. Due to this Gucci was able to sue Guess for using their symbols.

 

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Assignment 2: Information Ethics by missblossom123

Plagiarism

Wemple, Erik. The Washington Post, CNN fires news editor Marie-Louise Gumuchian for plagiarism. October 20, 2018 https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2014/05/16/cnn-fires-news-editor-marie-louise-gumuchian-for-plagiarism/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2c5de29b173a

The concept of the word plagiarism comes to life from the well known news network CNN. This article explains how one of the editors had been caught plagiarizing in many different articles during their career. The plagiarism was found during a routine editing check. It is very important to make sure the proper citations are being used while citing another person. If those mistakes end up happening, like in this story, it could cost someone their job.

 

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Assignment 2 Information Ethics (Plagiarism) by 2018baroquemusic

Plagiarism

Hoyt,Clark.New York Times. The Writers Make News. Unfortunately.October 20,2018.https://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/opinion/24pubed.html

This article from the New York Times shows a great example of plagiarism because it displays what happened to people guilty of it from a professional level. It talked about three situations that had recently happened during the time of the article’s publication. In one of the examples especially, One writer copied writing from a different source and had only changed one word. In result, there were consequences for him and people were wanting to charge him with plagiarism.

 

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Example: Assignment 2: Information Ethics athenaegis

PLAGIARISM

Remember, you may need to hunt around to find the information for the citation.

Various Authors.  A 2001 Update in the Janet Dailey/Nora Roberts Plagiarism Case. All about Romance:  the Back Fence for Lovers of Romance Novels.  May 1, 2001.  http://www.likesbooks.com/daileyupdate.html.   (This whole thing is a citation.)

Do you have to write as much as I do below?  No.  You do have to write enough to provide all the necessary information.  In my experience, that means a minimum of 4-5 sentences.

This source is a series of messages that originally came from the All about Romance Potpourri Message Board and that were collected on the 2001 Update in the Janet Dailey/Nora Roberts Plagiarism Case web page cited above.   The original message board is no longer available. (This is one of the problems with using non-academic web sources – they can disappear.  Academic websites can vanish, but it’s much less common.)  The case referred to was a copyright infringement case in which best-selling romance author Janet Dailey admitted to plagiarizing from the even better selling romance author Nora Roberts.  Dailey settled the case, with Roberts donating the settlement money to literacy and writers’ organizations.

I would probably not use this source for a paper since the original message board is no longer in existence – the page I cite is a copy.   I”m using it here for three reasons:  1.) the current site (likesbooks.com) owned the original message board.   2.  personal sources confirmed the copy was good & 3.  it’s a good example (see below). 

Reading the different messages, it is clear that the posters hold a variety of opinions as to whether Dailey’s plagiarism is really a bad thing..  One poster considered Dailey’s plagiarism/copyright infringement bad, but saw nothing wrong with copying music from less famous bands on the original Napster, even though that was copyright infringement too.

I think that what makes this source really valuable is that Nora Roberts, the writer who was plagiarized, posted.  Ms. Roberts points out that the plagiarism was not a single incident, but lasted more than seven years and involved 13 books.  She says that it was not a “victimless crime,”  and writes that she “would not wish this experience on anyone.”  Roberts states that there are moral  issues in addition to the legal/criminal issue of copyright infringement. (Roberts 30 April 2001)  I used only the last name and date in this note because the context of the paragraph makes it clear I’m referring to the web page cited above.  If I were doing a “real-life” parenthetical reference, I’d need to add information about the web page as well since her name doesn’t appear in the citation.

Note that I linked to Nora Robert’s post (above).  For many web uses, this is considered adequate – you are acknowledging that it’s not your work and referring back to the source.  For academic use (and best practice web use) you need to use a note (explanation in the text, footnote, endnote or parenthetical reference) to give specific credit for the quoted passages.  

 I’m using a parenthetical reference in this case.  Footnotes are at the bottom of a page, endnotes at the end of a paper (or book, etc.).  Since the note is to give credit for the quotes from Ms. Roberts’ posts, I used the date of her post and not the date of the web page.

I think this is a good example of plagiarism because it explains what it is, shows how people have differing views of the seriousness of  plagiarism and tells how being plagiarized affected the victim – in this case, Nora Roberts.

 

 

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Information Ethics — intellectual property rights

The post on cheating looks at  information ethics in terms of right versus wrong.  In this post, we’ll  look at information ethics from a legal as well as an ethical perspective.

Intellectual property rights are concerned with the ownership of created works.  Created works include, but are not limited to,  books, articles, music, movies, games, software, art,  and websites.  The owners of created works have certain rights unless s/he has signed away those rights.

Copyright is the most familiar of these rights.  Copyright is a legal concept.  The laws governing copyright vary from place to place and with different time periods.   In current U.S. law, the person who created the work automatically has copyright without registration or payment (this is a change from previous U.S. copyright laws.)

Under U.S. law, copyright holders have the right to determine how their work will be used, with the exception of fair use, which we’ll look at later.  Copyright holders may also assign, or give, their copyright to another person, or more commonly, the company or institution they work for.

Copyright infringement is the use of copyrighted work without the author’s permission.  Historically, this has been difficult to prove for books and other printed materials, although the web is changing that.  As with plagiarism, it is easier both to infringe copyright and to catch the infringers thanks to the web.     Most successful lawsuits these days are brought against those who use music and/or film without getting permission from the copyright holder.  The term piracy is often used when discussing copyright infringement of music, movies and software.

When you infringe copyright you are also usually guilty of plagiarism.  However, you can plagiarize works without infringing copyright.  For example:  most government documents are in the public domain, which means you don’t have to ask permission to use  the information in them.  However, copying the information without giving credit is still plagiarism.  (Caution:  some government documents are copyrighted.   Copyrighted works will generally say so – check the back side of the title page.)

You may not think of yourself as a copyright holder (or owner), but if you take photos, create art (and crafts!), write, etc.,  then you are.  If you post photos, art, writings, etc., online, you need to be  careful that you are not signing away your rights when you post on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Before you post, check out the terms of service.  Yes, terms of service are headache inducing, but Facebook, and more  recently Instagram, have included language in their terms of service that would allow them to use your works pretty much however they wish.  Public outcry forced both to back down, but they have not changed their terms of service. (Check out Facebook’s Terms of Service, especially Section 2, #1, last sentence.)

FAIR USE

Right about now you may be asking yourself  “how can I write a paper if I have to ask permission to use everything?”  The answer is fair use.  Fair Use  is a limitation on a copyright holder’s rights.  Thanks to fair use, you can quote brief passages from books, articles, etc., copy articles for personal use, make a mix list from music you own legally, use images and charts for educational purposes, etc.  YOU MUST STILL GIVE CREDIT or you  are guilty of plagiarism.

Fair use is generally limited to educational uses such as research papers, class presentations and art projects.  Most plays and movies presented on campus do not fall under fair use.  In most cases, you must purchase the right to present plays or movies for any group larger than a single class, and always if you charge admission (you could probably get away with asking for cans for the Food Bank for a movie shown at your religious institution of choice, but not much more).  Fair use may also apply to not-for-profit groups such as scouts and churches if the actual audience will be small.

General rules for fair use:

Things are more likely to fall under fair use if:

1.  Use is limited (for example:  one class)

2.  Only a small portion of a work is used

3.  The purpose is educational

Public Domain:  Works in the public domain  either are no longer covered by copyright or were never copyrighted (for example, many government publications.)  For research purposes, public domain means you can use large chunks of information without asking permission.  HOWEVER, you still must give credit or you are plagiarizing.

Copyright Expiration:  Copyright is granted for a specific period of time, which varies depending on the location and the most recent law.  In the U.S., current law says that all works created before January 1, 1923 are in the public domain.  CAUTION:  Some works, such as Huckleberry Finn or Pride and Prejudice,  that are out of copyright, may be published in new editions, in which some (for example, an introduction)  or all (for example, notes throughout the text)  of which may be protected by copyright.

Works created between 1924 and 1964 may or may not be protected by copyright.  You need to check each work to be sure.  Want to know more?  Check out the chart by Peter Hirtle of Cornell University.  (There’s a reason why intellectual property lawyers make a lot of money.)

REVIEW:

Plagiarism:  using materials without giving proper credit (= cheating = unethical)

Falsification:  giving incorrect information, especially when giving credit  (= cheating = unethical)

Copyright Infringement:  using too much copyrighted material without getting permission  (illegal)

Fair Use:  The ability to use a small amount of copyrighted material for educational, or other non-profit purposes, without getting permission – if you give proper credit.

Public Domain:  a work  is in the public domain if the copyright has expired OR if the work was never copyrighted.

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Information Ethics — cheating

What do we mean by information ethics?  The short answer is:  it’s the ethical use of information.  The long answer is a bit more complex.   Joan M. Reitz, in her Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science, defines it as:   “The branch of ethics that focuses on the relationship between the creation, organization, dissemination, and use of information, and the ethical standards and moral codes governing  human conduct in society.”  (http://www.abc-clio.com/ODLIS/odlis_i.aspx)*

For students this means dealing with issues such as plagiarism, falsification, and intellectual property rights.   This post will cover cheating, the next post will look at intellectual property rights.

The Weber State University Student Honor Code (6.22.IV.30.2) details what the university considers unethical and what the results will be for students who exhibit such behaviors.  All students are responsible for knowing   what to avoid.  Ignorance is not considered an acceptable excuse.

What do you need to know?  The basic concepts relating to information ethics so you won’t accidentally do something that’s considered academic dishonesty.  If you do it on purpose – that’s on you.  For those of you who might be wavering, keep in mind that while it’s easier to cheat these days,  it’s even easier to catch someone cheating.

Plagiarism  – this is a term that covers several different types of cheating.  Basically, it means claiming someone else’s work as your own.  There are three important types:

  1. Direct plagiarism – this is what most people think about when they hear the word plagiarism.  It means copying someone else’s work and claiming it as your own.
  2. Accidental or unintentional plagiarism –  there are several ways you can plagiarize accidentally.  These days, the  most common type of accidental plagiarism is when you give credit properly, but your source has plagiarized the information .  This happens when you use non-academic web sources (and it’s why you’re told to avoid them.)  Not giving proper credit and paraphrasing that are too close to the original are other ways people plagiarize accidentally.   I strongly advise you to avoid paraphrases – this is where most people have a problem.  Either do a direct quote or summarize.  Give credit to the author either way.
  3. Self-plagiarism is a related concept.  This is when you use part or all of a paper (or other assignment) that you did previously for a current assignment without indicating that you’re using previous work.  You can quote small sections (make sure to give yourself credit); however using long passages or giving a previously written paper a new title and re-submitting it are both considered cheating.

Even if you plagiarize accidentally, it’s still considered plagiarism and there are consequences if you get caught.  As I said above, ignorance is not considered an excuse.

Falsification – giving information that is false in some way.  The most common academic falsification is:   you can’t remember exactly where you found a quote.  The paper is due in one hour.  You guess and do a citation based on your guess.  You are wrong.  You’ve just committed falsification (also called misattribution.)  Falsification also includes activities such as falsifying data, making up sources and the like.

How do I deal with students who plagiarize?

First time:  you lose credit for the question and cannot revise.  I warn you about penalties if it happens again.
Second time:  in same assignment  –
     If I think it’s accidental (for example:  you confuse two citations but the rest looks good) – you lose points and can’t revise.
     If I think it was done on purpose (it’s an exact copy of a web source) – you fail the assignment and I report you to the Dean of Students. (NOTE:  the Dean of Students keeps a database of people who have been caught plagiarizing, cheating, etc.  Multiple incidents might result in academic probation or other penalties.)

Second time – different assignment – you fail the course, I report you to the Dean of Students.

The web makes it much easier to plagiarize either accidentally or on purpose.  It also makes it much easier for instructors to catch you.

How do you avoid cheating?  

  • Make the decision to do your own work.
  • Keep track of your research.
  • Avoid paraphrasing – it is very difficult to paraphrase without plagiarizing.  Summarize or use a direct quotation  instead.
  • Be very careful when you use non-academic sources on the web.
  • Give credit properly (we’ll look at this in the section on giving credit)

*I got the reference to this definition from the Wikipedia article on Information Ethics.  Finding useful sources is one of the ways you can use Wikipedia for academic assignments.

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