Plagiarism is a hot word on the Internet these days. Just look at the recent Kaavya Viswanathan scandal and Cassandra Claire fanfic mini-storm. Plagiarism is a very real problem, and one that should be taken seriously.
Let's look at the case of a certain blogger. Rose Desrochers has many posts on her website about supposed plagiarism on the 'Net. I'd actually call her rather rabid about "exposing" people and accusing them of stealing, copyright infringement, and other vile things. There appears to be no gray in Rose's world. Everything is black and white, and when something is black, it is BLACK!
Yesterday, she posted an item on her blog regarding a news article on Internet service providers' methods of cracking down on child porn. A good subject for a blog, no doubt. However, here are excerpts from her post about the article side by side with the wording from the original article. Note that Rose's post includes no quote marks to indicate the passages she lifted from the article.
Rose: …will be jointly building a database of known child porn images, creating a unique mathematical signature for each as well as develop other tools to help network operators and law enforcement better prevent distribution of those images...
Original Article: …will jointly build a database of child pornography images and develop other tools to help network operators and law enforcement better prevent distribution of the images.
Rose: AOL, plans to check e-mail attachments which are already being scanned for viruses.
Original Article: AOL, for instance, plans to check e-mail attachments that are already being scanned for viruses.
Rose: If child porn is detected, AOL would refer the case to the missing children’s center for further investigation.
Original Article: If child porn is detected, AOL would refer the case to the missing children's center for further investigation ...
Hmm, a clear-cut case of plagiarism in my opinion.
In all fairness, it is hard to summarize a news article about something this specific without quoting large chunks of it. That doesn't make it right to do it, it just means one needs to be very careful -- OR -- if it were me, I would have just quoted the first couple of sentences literally and with attribution and then directed my readers (all four of them!) to the full article.