Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Argentinian Politician's Proposal For New Anti-Plagiarism Law Plagiarizes Wikipedia‏


Argentinian Politician's Proposal For New Anti-Plagiarism Law Plagiarizes Wikipedia

from the where's-the-anti-irony-law dept

Britxardo alerts us to an amazingly ironic story coming out of Argentina. It seems that an elected politician there, Gerónimo Vargas Aignasse, has introduced some new legislation against plagiarism (Google translation of the original). It seems odd enough that he would be outlawing plagiarism (here in the US plagiarism is socially shunned, and could cost you your job, but isn't against the law unless it also reaches the point of copyright infringement, which is different), and it's made even worse by the fact that it looks like he's confusing plagiarism with copyright infringement -- noting in the explanation of the bill that "plagiarism" is harming the recording industry.

But that's not the ironic part.

As unbelievable as it may seem, it appears that the text Vargas Aignasse used to explain the bill was plagiarized straight from Wikipedia (Google translation of the original). Seriously. And not just a little bit. The first three paragraphs of the Spanish Wikipedia page on plagiarism are identical to three paragraphs in the explanation of the bill.

Just to make sure someone didn't do the opposite and take the text of the introduction and make it the Wikipedia page, I looked, and as I'm typing this, the Wikipedia page hasn't been updated since April -- and it looks like the bulk of that page has actually been in place for quite some time. The bill was introduced on May 6th.

It's difficult to think of anything more ironic than introducing a bill that calls for "imprisonment from three to eight years" for plagiarism... that plagiarizes the explanation for that bill. It's out and out plagiarism too. The three paragraphs look to be copied completely, and no effort is made to identify the source. It's also a bit weird that the text from Wikipedia -- which is basically just a definition of plagiarism -- is being used as the explanation of the bill. Nowhere does it describe why it's a problem or why it requires stringent jailtime. But, perhaps that's something Vargas Aignasse can ponder while serving three to eight years in prison for violating the law he just introduced... with the law he just introduced.

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