Wednesday, June 22, 2005


That's the Google search that has produced one or two dozen hits to this site today. I'm getting hit because of this post from April:
Chris Selley has caught Calgary Sun editor Licia Corbella in a nasty bit of plagiarism, and notes:

I can't honestly say I'm surprised. When you spend your entire life parroting right-wing talking points you read somewhere else, sooner or later you're bound to regurgitate one verbatim.

Yep--like or dislike Ms. Corbella's columns, that is an incontrovertibly good point...
The link to Tart Cider has vanished into thin air, as have references to Selley's watchdogging I noted here and here, at minimum.

Doucheblog has the only explanation why that I can find: in the context of an apology. Go read.


It would appear that Ms. Corbella has recently discovered that her reputation is being undermined on the internet, and she and her lawyers have taken some SLAPP-style action. I find this to be pretty unfortunate.

As you will have noted from her email to the Doucheblog, much of her defense for what many of us would consider plagiarism is that she is contractually permitted to use Canadian Press copy without attribution.

This is weak. As you the reader will find if you Google "definition of plagiarism", the transgression is passing off someone else's words as your own. Anecdotally, this is certainly how it was explained to me as a university student.

What bothers me with this deal is, I like Licia Corbella. I have corresponded via email (not spam-filtered, apparently!) with her in the past, and I found her to be lovely. I'm sad that she's decided to crack down on people who called what she has done "plagiarism", rather than rebut the specifics of the allegations. She ought to be offering an explanation; instead, she seems to think that the word "plagiarism" is what's damaging her reputation.

That's not the case, Ms. Corbella: what's damaging your reputation is that entire paragraphs are running under your Opinion byline that appear to have been written by someone else. CP may be cool with that; at least a handful of readers (and that's what bloggers are, basically) aren't cool with it, and a whole lot more wouldn't be either if they had any damn idea.

The fact that this causes you embarrassment is not a matter of law. You need to address this problem directly, otherwise it will only get worse. Best wishes.


At 2:17 p.m., Blogger JimBobby said...

Whooee! JerryMatt, there ain't much of a lower belly-crawlin' reptile than a plagiarist. But I wonder if them disappearin' posts was from suit-slingin' lawyers or from mebbe the boogers changin' their boog software.

I ain't had any troublems yet with people liftin' my boog stories an' takin' credit where credit ain't due but I'm gonna be extra vigilant an' keep an eye on this here Lisha Corbiller. I'm sorta suspiscious that Paul Wells is stealin' my style.

I hear tell they got a special search engine jest fer findin' plagiarism. I think it gets used by the university perfessers when they're gradin' term papers.

Yores trooly,


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