Thursday, January 27, 2011

When isn't it plagiarism? When it's "promotion" for Men's Health, apparently

Dave Zinczenko, the editor of Men's Health, was accused of plagiarizing his own writers by the blog Gawker for cutting and pasting old Men's Health content, removing the bylines and putting the material in his Yahoo column "Eat This, Not That".  Zincezenko told Gawker 
We use this material to grow traffic and awareness for the Men's Health and Women's Health brands and a variety of Rodale products. Nowadays promoting the company's products on a blog is no different than going on TV and promoting the latest issue.
Gawker replied, acidly
Yes, it's normal for websites to republish articles from other sites—but it's certainly not normal for an editor to take articles written by other people and pass them off as if he wrote them himself.
What is more interesting were the following observations from an online article by the New York Observer media columnist Kat Stoeffel, headlined You can't plagiarize a brand
Multi-platform media brands are slowly chipping away at the monument of authorship through syndication and cross-promotion. It would be really crushing for egomaniacal writer-types—if anyone of them gave a damn about that kind of  high-fructose, servicey, SEO-bait content.
The reason why so many of the pieces "plagiarized" were unbylined is that no one wants to take credit for them .... We bet whoever wrote those slideshows was happy to get paid to do them, but is also more than happy to let Dave Zinczenko be the face for them. And when the syndication is simply promotional, in hopes of moving eye balls, not dollar bills, than what is there even worth fighting for?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, if you sign away your moral rights, this is exactly the kind of thing that can happen. Moral rights include your right to be identified as the author of the piece.

1:09 pm  

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