RE: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue

Subject: RE: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue
From: "Gillespie, Stephen (Contractor)" <Stephen -dot- Gillespie -at- Persnet -dot- Navy -dot- Mil>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 12:26:25 -0500

>DaLy replies to Bonnie Granatt's ehtical dilemma (possible plagiarism):

I read your initial post and have a question. What kind of document are you
reviewing? If the document is explaining a standard (such as ISO), then the
standard (including an explanation - if one is given)has to be written
word-for-word. This would not constitute plagiarism. I do not think that
standards fall in the IP category. In fact, if a standard (and explanation)
are incorrect, a legal battle could result with the company that hired you
on the losing end.<

Good point, DaLy ('tho I'd be surprised if that's the scenario that Bonnie
described) ... but which prompts me to make a point that I'm sure won't be
lost on everyone on list, and that is the concept of the 'Fair Use
Doctrine'. Off the top of my head, I recall that fair use (vs.
plagiary/copyright violation) would include the use of (so-called) 'common,
everyday information that any educated person can/could readily find' (e.g.
info from common reference sources, such encyclopaedia)and thus need not be
cited. At least that's what I was taught/understood. Does this correspond to
anyone else's understanding?

Of course, that's a fine line (slippery slope) and I'd hate to have to argue
the case of whether 'common knowledge' ... what IS clear is that you cannot
simply 'change the words around' (paraphrase) and call it your own (idea).

Steve Gillespie

Sr Technical Writer
Science & Engineering Associates, Inc
Naval Personnel Command
5720 Integrity Drive
Millington, TN 38055-3100


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