Free by Chris Anderson plagiarized?
File 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!