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Pen & Paper Roleplaying Central => Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion => Topic started by: jeff37923 on November 15, 2020, 10:02:16 am

Title: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: jeff37923 on November 15, 2020, 10:02:16 am
Well, this is a subject I never thought I would have to deal with....

I'm small time when it comes to published material. An article here or there, maybe a couple of PDFs. Nothing big and nothing long or involved and extravagant. So, I'm surprised when I find a niche Traveller starship design of mine on a pirate website and an article I wrote for the Traveller fanzine Stellar Reaches chopped up and used in the Traveller WIKI.

I never thought that my stuff would get that level of "notoriety" in hobby circles.

So, published authors, how do you deal with this when it happens? Is there a standard procedure to follow? What do you do to get the best chance of the results you want?
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: HappyDaze on November 15, 2020, 10:05:09 am
What do you do to get the best chance of the results you want?
Step 1: Determine exactly what results you want.

Until you complete Step 1, anything else you do is likely just wasted energy.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: CRKrueger on November 15, 2020, 10:28:47 am
Well, this is a subject I never thought I would have to deal with....

I'm small time when it comes to published material. An article here or there, maybe a couple of PDFs. Nothing big and nothing long or involved and extravagant. So, I'm surprised when I find a niche Traveller starship design of mine on a pirate website and an article I wrote for the Traveller fanzine Stellar Reaches chopped up and used in the Traveller WIKI.

I never thought that my stuff would get that level of "notoriety" in hobby circles.

So, published authors, how do you deal with this when it happens? Is there a standard procedure to follow? What do you do to get the best chance of the results you want?

Contact Rob Connelly (Estar).  He’ll know what to do.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: S'mon on November 15, 2020, 12:58:13 pm
Well, this is a subject I never thought I would have to deal with....

I'm small time when it comes to published material. An article here or there, maybe a couple of PDFs. Nothing big and nothing long or involved and extravagant. So, I'm surprised when I find a niche Traveller starship design of mine on a pirate website and an article I wrote for the Traveller fanzine Stellar Reaches chopped up and used in the Traveller WIKI.

I never thought that my stuff would get that level of "notoriety" in hobby circles.

So, published authors, how do you deal with this when it happens? Is there a standard procedure to follow? What do you do to get the best chance of the results you want?

If the Wiki is legit it probably has a DMCA notice & takedown procedure? You need to notify them of the infringing material. Not much you can do about a pirate site I'd think.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: oggsmash on November 15, 2020, 01:11:17 pm
Well, this is a subject I never thought I would have to deal with....

I'm small time when it comes to published material. An article here or there, maybe a couple of PDFs. Nothing big and nothing long or involved and extravagant. So, I'm surprised when I find a niche Traveller starship design of mine on a pirate website and an article I wrote for the Traveller fanzine Stellar Reaches chopped up and used in the Traveller WIKI.

I never thought that my stuff would get that level of "notoriety" in hobby circles.

So, published authors, how do you deal with this when it happens? Is there a standard procedure to follow? What do you do to get the best chance of the results you want?
  Email them and ask them to credit you as creator of that material?  I think that will see where the good faith is, and if they do, you get a bigger stage for your published material.  If they take it down, well they are not using it anymore, if they act like asshats, well... it is what it is and you go to stage 2.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: Mercurius on November 15, 2020, 01:16:32 pm
If it is free material, I don't think it is such a huge issue - no one is profiting off your work, and instead some might be enjoying it in their games.

But you could also contact the Wiki administrator and make sure your name is on the page, so you get due credit.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: Omega on November 15, 2020, 05:04:50 pm
Well, this is a subject I never thought I would have to deal with....

I'm small time when it comes to published material. An article here or there, maybe a couple of PDFs. Nothing big and nothing long or involved and extravagant. So, I'm surprised when I find a niche Traveller starship design of mine on a pirate website and an article I wrote for the Traveller fanzine Stellar Reaches chopped up and used in the Traveller WIKI.

I never thought that my stuff would get that level of "notoriety" in hobby circles.

So, published authors, how do you deal with this when it happens? Is there a standard procedure to follow? What do you do to get the best chance of the results you want?

Um... This is not plagiarism since it sounds like they are just referencing your stuff, adding it to databases, and using it in examples.

If you go after these people you are going to come across as just one more in a growing list of unreasonable designers who will go after people just for even mentioning their stuff in some cases. This can and will get you blacklisted with some publishers and fans are likely to spread the news to avoid your works. You do not want to come across as a trademark troll. The gaming community is well past fed up with this and some have started fighting back, and winning.

Now on the other hand if you think your stuff is being misused then its perfectly fin to contact someone and say "hey this is being misused. Could you remove that piece or change it?"

Another ok move is to just ask to be credited somewhere.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: Spinachcat on November 15, 2020, 07:08:43 pm
So, I'm surprised when I find a niche Traveller starship design of mine on a pirate website and an article I wrote for the Traveller fanzine Stellar Reaches chopped up and used in the Traveller WIKI.

1) Pirates gonna pirate. But after two decades of watching internet piracy, it's my opinion that (a) most people don't read the PDFs they download so its just junk on their drives, (b) some people who pirate are doing the equivalent of browsing a bookstore and would buy the product in dead tree, (c) some people who pirate never buy anything so they were never a potential customer.

2) The "chopped up and used" part is interesting. Perhaps the best option is to offer to replace the chopped salad with your actual article if they will credit you and let you curate that page so it remains your original work.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: Spike on November 15, 2020, 07:16:56 pm
I've long held as an author (lets say entirely amateur simply to keep it simple), that I literally do not care, and in fact encourage people to take my stuff and run with it. As a practical matter I draw the line at slapping your name on my actual words or monetizing my actual words, but beyond that I'd be flattered if someone wanted something I had created enough to post it on a wiki or a pirating site.

I suppose if someone chopped up something I wrote in order to misrepresent it, to present it, or me, in some malicious fashion that is clearly not evident in context, I'd be upset, at least as much as if they slapped their name on my actual words (I am drawing a distinction for derivative works.  If someone wants to write fiction set in Haven (as posted in on this forum), knock yourselves out, you can even quote me here: I don't claim any right to what you write with my creations.


I suppose, philosophically, I've had reason to reconsider my stance based on an interesting video essay on the tragedy of the commons and the value of strong IP laws in promoting and creating works, but I'm pretty comfortable with where I've drawn my line in the sand, despite being way, way out there in 'its all free man!' territory compared to most folks. 

Huh. Who knew I was some sort of radical extremist?
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: Shawn Driscoll on November 15, 2020, 08:09:05 pm
Sounds like karma. What goes around comes around.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: Lynn on November 15, 2020, 09:07:54 pm
So, published authors, how do you deal with this when it happens? Is there a standard procedure to follow? What do you do to get the best chance of the results you want?

I'd check the license (and crediting) on the wiki to see if it is something you can live with. If it isn't properly licensed and released by that site as Open Content then there is a time bomb waiting to happen - especially considering that they didn't ensure they have permission to sub-license it. If a site is making such claims, it is an active danger to anyone that believes them.

But I'd still see about applicable credit where credit is due.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: RPGPundit on November 15, 2020, 09:37:08 pm
Well, this is a subject I never thought I would have to deal with....

I'm small time when it comes to published material. An article here or there, maybe a couple of PDFs. Nothing big and nothing long or involved and extravagant. So, I'm surprised when I find a niche Traveller starship design of mine on a pirate website and an article I wrote for the Traveller fanzine Stellar Reaches chopped up and used in the Traveller WIKI.

I never thought that my stuff would get that level of "notoriety" in hobby circles.

So, published authors, how do you deal with this when it happens? Is there a standard procedure to follow? What do you do to get the best chance of the results you want?

Were you making money from these?

Are they making money from it?

If not, it might not be worth the hassle. I mean obviously, there are measures you can try to take, but you should assess whether its worth the effort.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: Mishihari on November 16, 2020, 01:55:31 am
If you want to actually pursue this, the first step would be consulting with an IP lawyer.  Mine costs about $400/hour and I would expect the initial consult to be an hour or so.  If it's not worth that amount of money to you, then contacting the wiki for crediting or takedown is about the only practical step I can think of.  And contrary to what others have said, I don't think that reprinting the entirety of your article, chopped up or otherwise, falls under the legal or ethical category of fair use.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: jeff37923 on November 16, 2020, 01:16:42 pm
Thanks for the input, gang.

I can't do much about the pirated pdf, I can only hope that it makes for good advertising.

The wiki piece bothers me, because it is the chopped up parts of a longer article on the subject. I'm contacting the wiki owner to discuss it.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: GnomeWorks on November 16, 2020, 09:34:37 pm
My work has been in some of the larger d20 torrents for over a decade.

At some point, you just shrug and accept it.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: RPGPundit on November 17, 2020, 03:55:15 am
Thanks for the input, gang.

I can't do much about the pirated pdf, I can only hope that it makes for good advertising.

The wiki piece bothers me, because it is the chopped up parts of a longer article on the subject. I'm contacting the wiki owner to discuss it.

The latter would piss me off too. The wiki owner is being pretty unethical to have that there. In my case if some blog of mine was being used in an appropriate site and it was credited to me I wouldn't have a problem with it. But if someone cut up bits of one of my posts and didn't say where it came from, that would be a different story.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: consolcwby on November 17, 2020, 11:04:28 pm
Well, this is a subject I never thought I would have to deal with....

I'm small time when it comes to published material. An article here or there, maybe a couple of PDFs. Nothing big and nothing long or involved and extravagant. So, I'm surprised when I find a niche Traveller starship design of mine on a pirate website and an article I wrote for the Traveller fanzine Stellar Reaches chopped up and used in the Traveller WIKI.

I never thought that my stuff would get that level of "notoriety" in hobby circles.

So, published authors, how do you deal with this when it happens? Is there a standard procedure to follow? What do you do to get the best chance of the results you want?
When it comes to pirate sites, you can try a whois lookup: https://www.whois.com/whois
and see if the site or server owner can shut it down. At least you could create a cease and desist letter. Sometimes that works. But, if it's a legit Pirate-y Bay-ey type of site. Not much to do but ask for the stuff to be taken down. Being nice can help in your cause...
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: Omega on November 18, 2020, 02:03:46 am
From the sounds of it this is not a case of pirating his book. Its a case of someone using stuff from his book in a wiki. But copying chunks verbatim.

That is semi-common with wikis. Not all but I've even seen it done on wikipedia.

If it is just being used for reference and database then going after them will come across poorly, or very poorly as noted above.

Now if they are misusing the material in some way then its perfectly fine to go after them or at the very least request they change it to be more in like with the source.
Title: Re: Plagiarism - How Do You Handle it?
Post by: Chris24601 on November 18, 2020, 11:13:51 am
From the sounds of it this is not a case of pirating his book. Its a case of someone using stuff from his book in a wiki. But copying chunks verbatim.

That is semi-common with wikis. Not all but I've even seen it done on wikipedia.

If it is just being used for reference and database then going after them will come across poorly, or very poorly as noted above.

Now if they are misusing the material in some way then its perfectly fine to go after them or at the very least request they change it to be more in like with the source.
Yeah, from the description it sounds like the main thing to pursue would be asking the Wiki to cite them as the source... i.e. adding information to the reference rather than removing it. Given the likely size of the blurbs probably falling under the "fair use" review and commentary limits that's about the most you can hope for in this situation.