Current book recommendation: Four Futures: Life After Capitalism
- December 25, 2016 – Santa Clauses Past and Present and Content Theft
Life is a fascinating yet somber journey in which we see the Santa Clauses of our childhood in the mirror as we age and our younger, gift-begging selves in our own little elves as they grow bigger. No true Santa Claus, however, ever gifts stolen goods. Neither do we need to be conversant in the native language of Rudolph the Red-nosed to become more civil and considerate members of the global online community. Before you share content that does not originate from you on social media and other places, verify its source and check out guidelines on proper citation practices. If you have been nice and awesome so far, have a MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HANUKKAH or just a GREAT HOLIDAY SEASON!
- November 24, 2016 – Counting the Blessings
Collective political rationality and, perhaps, the forging of consensus on the definition of rationality are beyond the control of the individual, but the ability to give people we care for a sincere smile may still be within our power. In a year when politics in multiple regions of the world has taken more dramatic turns than the typical screen drama, the presence of family and friends, both online and offline, as one constant in life is especially comforting. No matter when you celebrate Thanksgiving or other holidays with elements of gratitude expression, thank you for being around all this while.
- October 31, 2016 – Holding Fitria Hanina, Carmen Kay, mybabysbreath and Enike Chindy Responsible for Plagiarism
When you were having heart palpitations trying to save someone from himself, the last thing you wanted to be alerted to was the presence of another piece of your stuff in the backyard of others, stripped of its name tag and laid bare among the weeds for any stray fowl to run away with a filthy bite. To rub salt into your chaotic arteries, a copyright infringer once had the temerity to lace her retort with foul language and claim that she saw your translation in a movie, effectively telling you that the numerous hours of brainstorming, fact-checking and revision you poured into the work were but a long, tiresome dream.
Every day, online content creators around the globe grapple with unappreciative readers who help themselves to products that are the culmination of blood, sweat and tears and, strangely, à la Cheese in the Trap, start to think of them as their own possessions. They do not assert that they have so much as lifted a finger during the creation process, but are affronted all the same by requests to remove them from their curations and upset upon the actual removals. And apparently because confessing to slip-ups, implicitly or otherwise, is a horrible sign of weakness, some would rather endure an endless barrage of messages from the content creators than try appeasing them with at least a by-line acknowledging their efforts. In certain cases, the result is unsurprisingly a huge disincentive on the part of the creators to continue putting up works online.
Instead of voicing their unhappiness in the open, some content creators keep up a cheerful façade in their public updates, preferring not to dwell on negativity or wary about backlash from other readers. Some of us believe, however, that we have the right to be acknowledged for the fruits of our labor, no matter the volume stolen, our prestige (or lack of), our own perceptions of their quality, and whether we have been standing on the shoulders of giants—certainly the case when you are explaining a poem and connecting it to public policy. In good scholarly practice, an author has to cite the source of his idea accurately even when he is describing the idea in his own words. Moreover, exact reproduction of works which are already devoid of any kind of revenue, without any intent to invite readers to visit the original webpages, amounts to blatant exploitation.
Many online content creators are not unreachable higher beings copyright infringers are never sure would read their requests for reproduction of material. Even if we give the impression that we are, the copyright notices on our homepages already answer their questions. Or, if some margin of uncertainty previously remained, our takedown requests have, by now, clearly conveyed our views.
Failure to identify the authorship of online works hurts plagiarists themselves in certain ways:
- They unwittingly take the blame for any flaw in the works. Many blog-based outlets, after all, are understaffed and do not undergo peer review. Translations, especially, are prone to mislead people, because writers often have to choose between reproducing the exact nuances of the original works or reproducing their rhymes. There are also the problems of, on one hand, literal translations vis-à-vis adopting expressions more natural in the output language, and on the other, accounting for intonations and gestures which are used by actors and actresses but are not evident in the original lines themselves. On The Asian Drama Philosopher (A-Philosopher)’s Chair, the point of placing the original lines in close proximity to their translations, as long as they were not too verbose, was to increase the chances that readers acquainted with the non-English language in question would spot any error. Nevertheless, reporting it is not the job of any reader, so mistakes may go uncorrected for years. In fact, no one has been forthright enough to point out that “The Problematic of the Unproblematic,” a drama review site that has been around for many years, was misspelt in a news update for several weeks. On top of this, people familiar with the original works would have noticed that APC sometimes insists on parsing the lines in its own idiosyncratic manner.
- They lose the right to complain when their own writings/artworks are similarly misappropriated, word for word and line by line without proper credits. No one is so “lucky” or “special” that she alone, and never anyone from her readership base, will ever know of a particular webpage.
- They alienate themselves from a large and supportive community of content makers and commentators. Is it not better to befriend us and have a pal from across the world ask after you and remind you to take medication when you are home with a workplace injury in the dead of night—a touching incident actually witnessed on Twitterverse? Asian drama commentators, in particular, may squabble from time to time but tend to share a warm camaraderie.
- When it comes to writings on empathy, they contradict themselves. They claim to love the writings, but what they really love are their own selves. They see themselves as the sole subjects of the writings, thinking how fabulous it is to have someone by their sides through thick and thin, but wilfully neglect that the person who makes their reading experience possible in the first place needs as much empathy as them.
- They live with a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. Withholding the credits and link may at times keep the duplicated copy off the original writer’s radar. But technology and social media users are growing more sophisticated. Staying unchanged, on the other hand, is the deep and long-lasting thirst to redress the injustice.
Duplication of people’s creations, as another blog owner has pointed out, is soulless work. On a related matter, APC itself has actually been immensely dissatisfied with directing visitors to others’ translations of essays and poetry, instead of taking time to write its own versions, in news updates in recent months. However much it respects and thinks highly of a translator, there are always places the admin obstinately prefers an alternate interpretation, wording or paragraphing. Readers, too, must have their unique visions about how best to convey a scene or sentiment.
Because the obstinate admin does not know how to let go, APC has incessantly felt compelled to list the names of errant readers extracting its contents without proper credits and ignoring its repeated complaints. Furthermore, abandoning efforts to get these readers to adjust their behavior may only result in more future victims. If you are their friend, urge them to make the necessary corrections before they develop a habit and make bigger mistakes in their studies and/or careers. Readers who kindly cooperated have been omitted from this list.
|Original Content:||APC’s Translation of “A Chest You Can Cry On” by Lee Jung-ha|
|Reader’s Name||Site Name / Handle||Domain||URL Extension of Plagiarized Material|
This should not give the illusion that the average troublemaker necessarily comes from a certain range of backgrounds. We have to keep in mind as well that there are many considerate bloggers from their countries. It is just that some individuals, giving up on themselves, choose to be black sheep.
Even long exposure to academia does not make one infallible in such areas. The Learned Fangirl (TLF), an informative website which dissects popular culture, fandom and technology, has related to APC’s admin how a tenured faculty once re-posted several of their posts in their entirety on his blog without linking back. When informed that this approach was unacceptable, he took down the posts, but not without calling TLF uncollegial.
With this update, APC hopes to not only seek justice for itself but also encourage long-suffering online content creators to speak up against readers disrespecting their efforts. In the spirit of “ascorbate extraction,” its admin will be collating data like the above and using its experiences with recalcitrant readers as potential case studies for a professional project. As for its upcoming online project, which will be about strategic thinking in public regulation, it intends to use a platform with readily executable copy protection measures, even as it has otherwise had a very positive experience with WordPress. It thanks TLF and numerous other online authors and admins for their frank personal anecdotes and very insightful comments in a private discussion group on plagiarism. If you are a legitimate content creator who would like to join us, simply drop a note below with a link to your website.
Confronting plagiarists is no pleasant task, but with at least five online commentators with a legal background in the Korean drama circle alone at last count, breakthroughs need not be that far away.