WSJ Plagiarizes My Blog Article?

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Thursday, January 19, 2006

I was very surprised to see the article Some Students Use Net To Hire Experts to Do Their School Work on WSJ by Lee Gomes. I had written about exactly the same topic on 20th October 2005. My article was titled:
Outsourcing Homework to India. It talks about the phenomenon of outsourcing homework and specifically highlights the Rentacoder issue - “If you glance at rentacoder you will find several homework assigments up for outsourcing. In fact they have a Personal Project / Homework Help category. At present there are 88 open jobs in Homework category.”

WSJ author writes on exactly the same topic and yet no attribution was provided.

It is sad to see an WSJ writer plagiarizing my article without providing any attribution whatsoever. What do you think?

I am including the response from the author which made me feel at ease that it was probably a coincidence:

Hi Angsuman

Congratulations for apparently writing about the problem of plagiarizing homework by outsourcing it before anyone else did, or at least before I did. I read with interest your complaint that I had plagiarized the idea from you, and how “it simply doesn’
t feel right.” While I certainly understand how you feel, and indeed feel the same way myself when it happens to me, please be assured that that isnt what happened in this case.

Someone mentioned this issue to me a week or two ago; I looked into it; and the column that you saw is what resulted. While I certainly did research for it, I guess I didn’t do enough to come across your very nice blog posting. Which is my loss, because
I am sure I could have benefited from your ideas — which, of course, I would have properly attributed to you. (I generally try to give credit where it is due.)

I do, though, have a small complaint of my own…that you didn’t ask me about this before accusing me of being a plagiarist. It is not exactly uncommon for two people to have the same idea independently; with the number of writers — bloggers, journalis
ts and the like — thinking about technology, it is all but guaranteed to occur, even without malfeasance on anyone’s part.

In any event, best of luck to you in your endeavors, and thanks for taking the time to read this.


Lee Gomes

PS. I accept his complaint. I was probably bit too hasty in coming to conclusion.

November 15, 2007: 7:18 am

All I did was point out a simple case of what appears to be a plagiarization by a big media house.

BTW: Technically speaking the world does revolve around you, from your frame of reference.

You are correct. Sometimes we have to just bite the bullet and move on. Hopefully in few years we, bloggers, will be able to compete on equal grounds with printed publications.

November 15, 2007: 1:25 am

You must be one of those people who think that the world revolves around you.

Here, have some ego juice. :)

February 4, 2006: 6:24 pm

It is hardly possible to search out and cite every article and especially every blog. The lesson is - the author gets the benefit of doubt.

What if he did indeed plagiarize? Can the Blog(osphere) assert sufficient influence to get the larger print media to acknowledge them?

January 20, 2006: 12:18 pm

I agree with Charles Miller. I’ve read about this subject several times well before 10/2005.

January 19, 2006: 8:37 am

It’s not a question of my ego. It simply doesn’t feel right.

January 19, 2006: 7:04 am

It’s a coincidence. Put your ego down and back away slowly.

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