ACTA and its Purpose

What I had earlier disregarded as a hype on the internet, has changed after watching this clip. It was informative and ACTAs purpose was well illustrated. A couple of times though, the word choice was a bit too attention-grabbing. Nevertheless, I recommend watching it.

Definitions cited from the clip provider:

ACTA – ‘The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’ is a proposed plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement.

ACTA would establish a new international legal framework that would create its “own governing body outside existing international institutions” such as – the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the United Nations.

Watch this to learn more about ACTA and its possible trails:

[youtube N8Xg_C2YmG0]

Germany’s Latest Plagiarism Case

I actually wondered what took them so long… as soon as a few Germans learn of some new ways to take some old opponents down, there sure will be more to follow.

Today’s article, The Whiff of Plagiarim Again Hits German Elite in the New York Times, tells of three new plagiarism cases under investigation.

At the international school we belong to, plagiarism has always been cause for expulsion. At most German schools and colleges though, it is seen as a trivial offense.

It is amazing how such a rigid society can have such loose regulations in regards to academic work. This is all about to change right now.

German Jury’s Handling of Plagiarism

Yesterday’s article,  Not Plagiarism but Mixing and Matching, Says Best-Selling German Author, 17, from the New York Times, is about a young German author, who sees nothing wrong in committing  intellectual property theft.

For her acclaimed book, Axolotl Roadkill, she took whole passages from a blogger’s website and included those in her book. She calls it mix and match, I call it plagiarism.

Growing up in Germany and attending German schools, there was no such term as plagiarism. Back then, the worst students could do was to get caught cheating on the test.

In this day and age though, with information readily available, it looks as if this  student has missed a valuable lesson, of which the Golden Rule is just the beginning. Plagiarism is a crime and gets punished with expulsion in some schools around the world. If a celebrity gets caught stealing, the dues are outrage from the public.

The 17-year-old author tried to be clever and innovative on her way to fame. But for the editors to have missed these plagiarized passages is yet another story. Don’t they run them through the search machine? A good editor should be able to recognize an illegally copied text by just reading it. Any book, especially written by such a young author, should be thoroughly checked for inconsistencies. She talked about life in Berlin’s clubs (some of which require its patrons to be 21 years of age), which would be unknown to her as a minor. Too many inconsistencies slipped by the editors and the jurors.

Her book has become a finalist for a major book prize of $20,000 prize at the Leipzig Book Fair in the fiction category. Yesterday, one jury member admitted to the panel having known of the plagiarism charges prior to the nomination.

It seems these inconsistencies did either slip by editors and jurors, or were plainly overlooked. By German standards, was this case of plagiarism not deemed worthy in respect to breaking literal ethics or was it just plain ignorance coming from these well-read literary experts?

Man sieht nur das, was man weiß.
(You only see what you know.)

– J.W. von Goethe

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