News’ Plagiarism

News’ plagiarism has become an out of control epidemy in social media.

Our digital journal has been a permanent victim of plagiarism, which other Dominican digital journals have also suffered.

Its most serious aggravating factor is that, in some cases, the plagiarized news is also intentionally contaminated with inaccurate, made up or distorted content, and could give the impression to the not properly informed readers that it’s an actual purified information.

Very few outlets that decide to copy-paste our contents report the source from which they were extracted. Most take them as their own and, in many cases, they come to the grave imposture of changing the signatures of their original authors and replace them with someone else’s, those of their editors or, perhaps, of an anonymous writer.

The intriguing part is that, although the total or partial reproduction of news without proper authorization from the original source is a very frank violation of copyright, still no one denounces it, not even the affected entities, thus giving field to this epidemy so that it spreads with impunity.

A couple of years ago, the newspaper El Colombiano, in Medellin, saw itself in the vexed dilemma of firing one of its editors for having copied a literal translation of an article from The New York Times.

The colombian newspapers apologized and said that the journalist, not only did not comply with their style rules, but also with basic principles of journalistic deontology. Immediately they went to review everything she had written in the past, to determine if she was a repeat offender in this imposture. The result was the removal of such plagiarized content from the website.

The phenomenon is not only with news but with any other type of content, such as photos or videos. Some media are protected by applying the famous “watermarks” or their logos to the image to discourage unauthorized reproduction.

Although there are applications on the Internet to detect plagiarism, it’s uncommon to see users resorting to these verification mechanisms, but there is no doubt that as this problem becomes widespread, affecting even extracted texts from books or scientific researches, it will be necessary to take drastic and effective actions against this kind of cancer that contaminates social media and facilitates the dissemination of manipulated and faked news.

– Translated from spanish by Randy Rodriguez.