David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethics and Information Technology 1 (2):127-135 (1999)
Although commonly confused, the values inherent in copyright policy are different from those inherent in scholarly standards for proper accreditation of ideas. Piracy is the infringement of a copyright, and plagiarism is the failure to give credit. The increasing use of Web-based electron publication has created new contexts for both piracy and plagiarism. In so far as piracy and plagiarism are confused, we cannot appreciate how the Web has changed the importance of these very different types of wrongs. The present paper argues that Web-based publication lessens the importance of piracy, while it heightens the need for protections against plagiarism. Copyright policy protects the opportunity for publishers to make a profit from their investments. As the cost of publication decreases in the electronic media, we need fewer copyright protections. Plagiarism is the failure to abide by scholarly standards for citation of sources. These standards assure us that information can be verified and traced to its source. Since Web sources are often volatile and changing, it becomes increasingly difficult and important to have clear standards for verifying the source of all information.
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