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Subject:Popularity through Plagiarism
Time:03:34 am
One of the things about GPL enforcement, is that violations can only be contested by the copyright holders. As an example, if I were to find out about a violation of the GPL licence in, say the linux kernel, then the most that I could do is notify the copyright holders, and leave it to them to decide what to do.

Now, say the item in question wasn't really a piece of copyrighted software, but procedure that someone came up with to do a particular task more efficiently. This person knows that it's a really good idea, and tells a lot of people about it, intending to eventually polish it up and maybe blog about it, or publish an article but is waiting for approval from his employer, or something like that. For simplicity, we'll call this person Ideaguy.

Now, let's say one of the people that Ideaguy told his idea to, we'll call him Expertguy, just happens to be the self proclaimed expert on this topic. Expertguy decides to publish a bunch of ideas on his blog, and among the ideas, he includes the one that Ideaguy told him about, except he keeps the credit for himself. Ideaguy is hurt, but he's a nice guy, so he does nothing about it.

Expertguy then takes an idea from Hackerdude, and another idea from JSGuru, and another idea from Pixelgirl, and writes a book, as the sole author, taking full credit for all these ideas. Hackerdude, JSGuru and Pixelgirl are all nice people, so they decide not to say anything.

Expertguy is really popular at this point, and gets invited to several conferences and to speak at universities, and to write more books, while Ideaguy decides that he's heading off to teach English to children in South America, and Hackerdude, JSGuru and Pixelgirl are slowly making their way up the circuit with their own ideas, often collaborating.

So what would you do if you knew all this but weren't directly affected? What if during the course of your own work, you found out that Expertguy has had far fewer original ideas than you'd originally thought? Do you believe that everyone's karma will equal out in the long run?
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prodizy
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-03-29 08:11 pm (UTC)
A genuine person might shout this out in the community and for this reason he/she might be stamped as a cribber. The cribber might hang in there or leave it for karma.

An unwise person might ignore it till it effects her/him.

Probably other genuine experts can start a blog/community/movement to help the cause.
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nvivek
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-03-30 01:34 pm (UTC)
If you believe in karma, then by definition, it equals out in the long run.

I'm against intellectual property of most kinds --- property in the sense of someone owning an idea or taking credit for it.

In my current field of endeavour, I'm intensely conscious of the need to acknowledge intellectual debt. But even though I agree with it, I'm also aware that this is merely manners or politeness or how-I-was-raised etc. The net effect on humanity has nothing to do with my debt, merely with my output.

In your example, who is to say that:

a) Teaching english to children in south america is not a more important activity than being credited for an idea

b) Ideaguy's 'original' idea didn't have its roots in some old, long forgotten story told by a teacher, classmate or even the sum of all interactions with his buddies plus dog. So, whose idea is it, anyway?

In my mind, the true test is: what did you do with that idea?
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bluesmoon
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-03-30 07:09 pm (UTC)
I think my only problem here is with the way Expertguy goes about acquiring ideas.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


nvivek
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-03-31 09:29 am (UTC)
There are two issues, then, that you're grappling with. One is the idea of ownership of intellectual property and the other is deception. I'm against both.

If Expertguy is mis-representing himself, then he deserves to be exposed. On the other hand, if he's merely an unscrupulous self-publicist and an egotist, you should merely dislike him and stay away from shaking his hand.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


bluesmoon
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-03-31 09:39 am (UTC)
I don't have an issue with intellectual property, and neither do any of the people who had the ideas. They've all given their ideas away freely for anyone to use. Some on their blogs, some on mailing lists, and some over lunchtime discussions. Then there's one person who claims he came up with the ideas, and this isn't like three years later when chances are that he forgot where he heard it. This is off from the presses, a day later kind of stuff.

I've haven't been affected directly, but this just makes me feel yucky.
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say_yes04
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-03-31 04:19 am (UTC)
I think we are all wise for what we do/not do with our ideas.

Finally the credit goes to the person who makes the idea visible, because the source of the same idea can at times many. Remember the idea of pre-steal? It can happen with para phrasing too, you get to know of a idea then you think about it and improve it and add some other ideas from a blog post etc.

The idea guys ambitions are what are important if he wants to be the expertguy, then he can learn a few things about publishing the idea before expressing it and then making sure its well known.

From experience idea guys tend to be an idea a day and rarely have the patience to pursue it to some sort of recognition. Once its published no point complaining, the internet labels whiners of all who complain.
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code_martial
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-04-04 03:02 pm (UTC)
Increasingly, I think the modus operandi of Expertguy is approximately what you described above. I think the kind of difference you mentioned between the "fates" of Expertguy vs. Ideaguy, Hackerdude, JSGuru and Pixelgirl isn't entirely unjustifiable.

There are two things Expertguy can do with all the ideas: 1) Combine them; 2) Catalog them

Combining
It does take expertise to put together several disparate ideas into a combination that provides effective solution for one or more problems. Getting me here?

Hackerdude might know how to hack some functionality together quickly, JSGuru might know how to accomplish a nifty task in JS, etc. but either they need to collaborate themselves to produce something useful, or the Expertguy puts the pieces together.

In this case, if Expertguy takes credit for the combination, I wouldn't think of him in a negative way. If he credits the sources of individual ideas, it's great but not doing so wouldn't make him a bad person, IMHO.

Cataloging
The other thing Expertguy is looked upon for is simply the number of ideas he holds in his head -- whether original or external -- and his ability to propose the right set of ideas at the right time. He may not be trying to solve problems there, but he should at least be able to give an analysis of the ideas.

If Expertguy goes ahead and publishes a book full of all these individual ideas without crediting the sources, that still doesn't make him a bad person, IMHO, nor takes away from the hard work he's put in in understanding, analysing and cataloging them. The only exception I'd take in that case is if he claims that the ideas originally came from him.

Now, if you're talking about credit as in brownies obtained at the time of annual performance reviews, it's an entirely different ballgame. I think the onus of defending ones IP lies with oneself and it helps to have a record.
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(Anonymous)
Subject:Percona Performance Conference Slides
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-04-26 01:47 pm (UTC)
Are the "Websites on Speed" slides available?
(Reply) (Thread)


bluesmoon
Subject:Re: Percona Performance Conference Slides
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-04-27 01:50 am (UTC)
You can see them at http://bluesmoon.github.com/talks/websites-on-speed/
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

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