Letter to NPR's "On The Media" about the Cooks Source controversy.

Here's what we sent to NPR's On The Media yesterday about their coverage of the Cooks Source controversy:

In today's piece (14 Nov 2010) about Cooks Source's unauthorized use of Monica Gaudio's story about apple pie, you referred to the episode as an example of "plagiarism". It is not.

Cooks Source preserved Gaudio's name on the article. It was unauthorized use, but it was not misattribution, and only the latter is plagiarism. Plagiarism is unrelated to copyright infringement: you can plagiarize without infringing (for example, if I claimed to be the author of a public domain work like Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina"), and you can infringe without plagiarizing (what Cooks Source did: publish someone else's work with their name still attached to it).

Many in the publishing and recording industries deliberately try to confuse these two things — I give some examples below — because they know that people feel stronger moral revulsion toward plagiarism than toward mere unauthorized copying. But there is no reason for NPR's On The Media to assist in this confusion. The distinction between copying and plagiarism is clear, and important to make.

   questioncopyright.org/promise#plagiarism-vs-copying
   questioncopyright.org/nyu_note_on_illegal_downloading

Thank you,
-Karl Fogel
 Editor, QuestionCopyright.org

I hope they read it on the air, or at least summarize the point. If anyone hears it, please let us know.

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