Update IV

by | Monday, October 06, 2008

Chris from Creativity Portal dropped off a “strong” message to me on my website (see it here).

Just a couple of points. First, I have not received the email they sent me (I do not question the fact that they did send it) – just that I did not receive it. I checked my log again and did not find it.

Second, the comment suggests that I have been in a “rush to judgment” and have assumed that everybody is in this “plagiaristic conspiracy ring.” That is just not true. I have not blamed anybody but David Jiles Ph.D. and even there I have asked him to offer his take on what has happened.

Third, they say that their response was “pretty good for an average dot com Web community not in the business of peer-reviewing articles for professional publications (nor expected).” I am not sure about that. I think in the age of Google the least we can do is check up on this person – get a copy of their vita or whatever. Look at their profile on Linked in? Was that done? I don’t know.

But that is neither here nor there.

What is important in all this is what is NOT being talked about. In all this I see no concern on the part of the “average dot com Web community” to the rights of the the Root-Bernsteins.’ Their work has been completely ripped off and these people have been (inadvertently or whatever) party to this. Yet, I hear no one speak to how their life’s work has been stolen.

So I must say that the sentence, that I “have done a fine job in quickly naming and shaming innocent parties to the ‘deception’ of this author” is the one that bothered me somewhat. It is kind of ironic that protecting the rights of content creators is seen as being an unkind act.

I am sorry I did not receive the note from Chris at Creativity Portal. I would have quickly noted that they were acting on this. Let this be a statement to that effect. That is indeed the fair thing to do.

Topics related to this post: Creativity | Crime | Personal | Plagiarism

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1 Comment

  1. Creativity Portal

    “I am sorry I did not receive the note from Chris at Creativity Portal. I would have quickly noted that they were acting on this. Let this be a statement to that effect. That is indeed the fair thing to do.”


    Thank you for that acknowledgment (check your bulk folder, it was sent twice). We have spent many hours today on this issue retooling our submission guidelines and processes and crafting a message we’ll communicate to our community on the seriousness of plagiarism.

    No, protecting the rights of content creators is not an unkind act. It is a serious priority of ours, and unfortunately, in this instance the creator’s content came from an offline book we have not read. Didn’t someone tell you that it was from a book also? How else would you have known?

    Plagiarism and copyright issues are topics we will continue to talk about and enforce at our Web site. If you “see no concern on the part of the ‘average dot com Web community’ to the rights of the the Root-Bernsteins” or any other works, then perhaps you aren’t looking deep enough. It is a huge concern of ours and of many of our partners. On every page of our Web site (header), for example, we have a copyright link that goes to this page:


    Our article submission page also stresses this information and has been updated today:


    Our Terms of Use page:


    Subscribers to our newsletter will also tell you that we have stressed this information for years and have spent many hours contacting other Web site and blog publishers to remove our own content from their sites that they’ve lifted without permission and attribution. I personally know what it feels like to see others profiting from my work, so I’m highly keyed into this and agree these things need to be called out.

    My message had more to do with allowing these processes (of removing offending content) to take place in realistic time frames, which is more than one business day (be happy you didn’t have to fill out one of these DMCA forms which I had to do and sign with my own blood to get one of my personal projects removed from a ‘free web hosting’ site.)

    We agree that these issues need to be talked about and enforced. Please do give credit to Web publishers who are concerned, who are upholding these standards, and who are taking action when something like this comes to their attention.

    Thank you again for alerting us to this case and for allowing us to set the record straight.

    …and please do enjoy the cool weather and changing leaves.


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