Plagiarism, Inspiration, and John Dunleavy

So tonight there was a rather length discussion about the blog published by John Dunleavy who is the owner of SQLTech Consulting out in Philadelphia.

Today’s conversation all started when I pointed out to John that posting other people’s white papers under your own name wasn’t exactly the best of ideas.  Below is a screen shot of the post that caught my eye.

(The image in the blog post is re-posted under the CC BY-SA 2.0.)

After a few hours John come online and saw my message and the conversation started.  The idea that we were trying to get across was that you can’t be taking other peoples work and quoting it without giving the author credit.  Especially when the document that you took the quote from clearly states…

Without limiting the rights under copyright, no part of this document may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), or for any purpose, without the express written permission of Microsoft Corporation.

Now, this wasn’t dug up from Microsoft’s web page, or the terms of use page which is linked from each and every Microsoft page, but I copied it directly from the Word Document which the unattributed quote was taken from (in this case a document titled “Windows Server 2008 Multi-Site Clustering“).

(Sorry Microsoft, but I had to grab part of your copyright here.)

Now John says that he’s just trying to help get the information out there and he isn’t trying to make any money off of this.

However a quick look at the site shows that it is his consulting company site, and the entire site is basically one large ad for his consulting services, which when you take into context with the tweet about never seeing a SQL Server being brute forced before seams a little “strange”.

Now John also asks how we (assuming that I’m part of “we” since I’m named) can help others if we are lining our pockets.  That’s an easy one to answer, when we publish articles on websites, or write white papers for companies they pay us.  I’m assuming that everyone already knows that authors get paid for producing content for someone else.

Now a lot of the work that people give out is done for free.  Most people make $0 on their blog.  If they are making any money, it usually isn’t enough to cover the costs of the hosting and bandwidth for the blog.  Personally (and in the interest of full disclosure) I have no costs on my blog, as my blog is hosted by Tech Target, and in fact they pay me a small amount to blog here (trust me it isn’t anywhere close to what I could make if I published everything on here as an article) but I’m probably one of the few who actually makes a profit off of their blog.  Even if I didn’t make any money off of my blog I would still blog just as much because I’m all about putting out new, unique content for the SQL Server community.

Now at one point John said that he’s willing to fix things if there is a problem, but apparently only if the author of the content specifically requests that he do so.

And his willingness to remove stuff that as requested is great (and sort of required), but the problem here is that he’s publishing works of people who have specifically stated that their work can not be copied (I refer you to the copyright info at the top of this post).

Initially this was started as a friendly hey, you need to not be posting others content.  And you especially don’t want to bite someone with as large as teeth as Microsoft.  But this quickly turned into John defending the posts and stating that someone who has already stated that they don’t want the works copied and republished has to request to have the copies of those works removed.

I think that John’s last post of the night is kind of a sad commentary on his view of the entire matter.

This wasn’t meant to be entertaining to anyone, as plagiarism is a very serious matter that various bloggers have talked about again, again, again and again; but apparently we need to talk about this yet again.

Now, before you cry foul, yes I totally swiped the title for this post from Brent Ozar’s post by the same name, and yes I asked him in advance.



2 Responses

  1. Denny, I got this link from a comment off of Brent’s blog. I thought it should be shared too. [A href=””]Tynt[/A] is a site that will help track what is being copied from your site. I signed up and got it set up my blog as a test.

    This link was posted by [A href=””]Brad M McGehee[/A]

  2. You are taking my tweets out of context and I don’t think that is fair. The fact that I never experienced a hacker on my machines when it wasn’t one that I setup and managed before is not that “strange”. I noticed it on an initial observation for a client and I let the client know about it. I was asking the question in twitter to prepare for a future post I was preparing as I thought it would be interesting.
    There is a big difference between failing to attribute and plagiarism itself. While they are both wrong, I think I was just failing to attribute. I am not a writer but I thought fair use of an introductory paragraph was a valid method given I was linking to the source. Perhaps I was wrong. Nonetheless, I have removed all articles in question and the issue should be mute. I think it’s a bit hippicritical to be calling me out in this situation especially given our line of work, though. Have you ever used someone’s code perhaps from the internet or a book without asking the coders permission first?
    I was only trying to help the community but I am questioning whether I will even continue BLOGGING anymore as I really am not a very good writer. I thought I was helping but perhaps I should just stick with computers and leave writing to the people who can write. Again I apologize if you felt misled or upset with any of my blogs…it was not my intention.

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