baltimoresun.com

« Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer -- OK for a do-over? | Main | Dick Cheney's new book -- and big payday »

June 24, 2009

Free by Chris Anderson plagiarized?

free by chris anderson plagiarismFile under: Author behaving badly. And: Irony of ironies. 

Chris Anderson's book The Long Tail described how the Internet is shaking up the distribution model of established companies, and won him a following as an astute observer of business trends. But now he has acknowledged lifting large chunks of material for his follow-up book, Free, which argues that companies may ultimately profit by giving products away.

The source of the material: Wikipedia.

The problem was spotted -- and described in meticulous detail -- by The Virginia Quarterly Review. Anderson says the problem was inadvertant (where have I heard that before?) and due to a last-minute decision to eliminate footnotes. He told VQR that he tried to add attributions or rewrite passages where needed, but did not get them all.

Maybe this is just an inevitable outcome from the mind-meld that gave us The Long Tail. While writing that book, Anderson used an online audience to vet his findings, so he already had a pretty fluid take on the concept of authorship. Watch out for that slippery slope, Chris!

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 10:20 AM | | Comments (2)
        

Comments

I don't know which bothers me more with plagiarism. The lack of morality in stealing somebody's work or the stupidity involved in thinking you won't get caught.

What sensible author would ever use Wiki-freakin-pedia® for their research, either? While I occasionally resort to wikipedia for random blurbs on things, I would never use it as a substantiated source for any type of research, whether it be a novel or a high school research paper!

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

-- ADVERTISEMENT --

Map: Bookstores


View Favorite Bookstores in a larger map
About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Edgar Allan Poe is 200!
All you need to know about the macabre master including Poe-themed events, photos, video and a trivia quiz.

Stay connected