Re: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue ---> need your input NOW

Subject: Re: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue ---> need your input NOW
From: Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 4 May 2003 08:05:25 +0200

I'm no lawyer, but I think you are on the right track in your
plans to mention this to the editor.

I agree. The author who's work you're editing may or may not have acted improperly, and publishing this work could have legal consequences for your editor's company. Unless he or she knows about the issue, the editor cannot act to resolve any problems there may be.

I think you need to make it
clear that you have found examples of material where the author
has borrowed without acknowledging or requesting permission from
the copyright holder.

I would phrase it differently: Say that you've found in the Internet material that is phrased exactly the same as the one submitted by the author. Explain what percentage of your searches turned up suspect material to give the editor an indication of the likely scope of the problem.

I would NOT use words as "borrowed" or "improperly" or anythign else that judges the authors behavior. You are in the lucky situation not to have to pass such judgement, so you can avoid judging wrong (which could lead to problems for you). After all, there may be entirely innocuous explanations - the text in question may be some boilerplate text mandated by some agency, or it may have been written by the author on a previous assignment and he or she may have retained the copyright.

It seems best that you just report the facts as you have found them and leave any conclusions to the editor.

Jan Henning

Jan Henning
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 700 0200 0700, Fax: +49 8179 9307-12
E-Mail: henning -at- r-l -dot- de, Web:


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Re: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue ---> need your input NOW: From: John Fleming

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