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In Argentina, Law Against Plagiarism Plagiarized 165

Posted by kdawson
from the send-yourself-to-jail dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An Argentinian politician who introduced a law to send plagiarists to jail for three to eight years appears to have plagiarized the explanation of his bill directly from Wikipedia. The bulk of his explanation is three paragraphs that are taken, verbatim, from Wikipedia, without acknowledgment."
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In Argentina, Law Against Plagiarism Plagiarized

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  • by ls671 (1122017) * on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:35PM (#32208552) Homepage

    Do as I say don't do as I do, some politicians outside of Argentina also have that attitude ;-)

  • by decipher_saint (72686) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:39PM (#32208610) Homepage

    Oh pleaaaaaaaaaaase enforce the penalty!

  • Hypocrisy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Killall -9 Bash (622952) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:40PM (#32208626)
    Same ole' crap. "Stop stealing," says the thief.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:43PM (#32208692)

    So should you...

  • by vux984 (928602) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:55PM (#32208854)

    Plagiarism is not illegal in and of itself, except for where it's fraudulent

    Plagiarism is always fraudulent. Its taking credit for work you did not do.

    If we have rules for intellectual property, we should have them for intellectual fraud too.

    Even in the "real world", where it should be (and is) perfectly fine to use someone elses work to solve a problem its still wrong to take credit for it.

    Avoiding plagiarism doesn't mean you can't copy. It just means you can't take credit when you do.

    Avoiding plagiarism is as simple as crediting the source.

  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:57PM (#32208890) Homepage

    If he introduced it as a law, it wasn't illegal when he did it, right?

  • by Explodicle (818405) on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:58PM (#32208900) Homepage
    RTFA
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @12:59PM (#32208922)

    Nope. This story is indeed ironic. I'm sick and tired of people like you who think that there's NEVER a case where the word "ironic" should be used.

  • by thepike (1781582) on Friday May 14, 2010 @01:05PM (#32209002)

    From Princeton wordnet: "Irony: incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs"

    This is ironic. Alanis Morissette may have ruined it in most situations, but it gets the okay here.

  • by tsalmark (1265778) on Friday May 14, 2010 @01:12PM (#32209112) Homepage
    Maybe he wrote the article?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @01:14PM (#32209154)

    "Do as I say don't do as I do, some politicians outside of Argentina also have that attitude ;-)"

    In my experience, that's what all politicians do. As do the cops. They set bad examples for the rest of us.

    No joke. The constitutions and other founding legal documents of all modern governments should have included a clause stating that when any politician, law enforcement officer, or other government official breaks the law, they will be subject to three times the penalty (fines, duration of incarceration, or both) that an ordinary citizen would suffer had he or she done the same. The reasoning is that when they break the law, it represents a threat to the institution of law and the concept of the rule of law, both of which are fundamental and essential to the functioning of modern society.

    Also, if the politicians and particularly the cops really wanted to improve their public image then the honest ones would stop looking the other way when they have knowledge of the corruption of the dishonest ones. Cops in particular are rather brave people; facing an armed assailant is "all in a day's work" for them and a possibility they accept willingly. Therefore, this cannot be a matter of courage or fear of retribution and is instead a matter of complicity. That complicity makes them just as guilty as those whose corruption they ignore. This is one of the main reasons why they are sometimes perceived as thugs who act only in their own self-interests while pretending to protect and serve.

    The only other thing that would dramatically improve relations between the general public and government would be to end the War on (some) Drugs. It began for mostly racist reasons and persists as a form of class war. The only reason why the proceeds from drug dealers might fund criminal organizations and create more crime is because there is high demand for these products that is not going away and no legitimate, honest business that can compete in an open market with them. There is also no moral justification for telling adults what they may or may not do with their own bodies and no ethical basis for imprisoning those users who are responsible and do not pose a danger to others with their habit.

    The classic example of this is someone who comes home from work and relaxes with a joint, does not drive, does not leave his home, and does not disturb his neighbors. What case is there for putting such a person through the nightmare world of our legal system? He or she is not violating anyone else's civil rights. How does persecuting such a person benefit society or create the perception of good and competent governance? Anyone who doesn't think such abuses foster an adversarial relationship between citizens and government has little grasp of reality.

  • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Friday May 14, 2010 @01:22PM (#32209264)

    If we have rules for intellectual property, we should have them for intellectual fraud too.

    I disagree. Plagiarism is morally wrong, but that doesn't mean it has to be illegal. There are lots of things that are morally wrong but not illegal (e.g. cheating on your spouse). That's the way it should be: for the vast majority of things, social norms and consequences (including public outcry, shaming, damage to reputation, etc.) are more than sufficient. Laws should only be enacted in those rare cases where the public safety or public good needs more protection. To do otherwise gives the lawmakers/enforcers too much power, and tends to turn every person into a criminal. (Does it really make sense to prosecute a college student who cheats on an essay? Or is flunking him sufficient?)

    Really, we have far too many laws at present, and could stand to have many repealed. (The various "intellectual property" laws could certainly stand to be pruned-down, for instance.) I see no pressing social need for plagiarism to be illegal. (Plagiarism may be part of some larger fraud, but in those cases there are already other good laws (anti-fraud, truth-in-advertising, etc.) to address the real transgression.)

  • by causality (777677) on Friday May 14, 2010 @01:24PM (#32209320)

    Given it's an unwritten requirement for being a politician, I would suspect almost all of them to be like that, regardless of state or country. Every now and then you get a humane politician that sucks horribly at these unwritten requirements... but not very often.

    I'd go so far as to say that the purpose of entrenched political parties without whom you have no chance of election, party primary systems, and the inability to even get on the ballot without a great deal of sponsorship is simple. The purpose is to make sure that such humane politicians never make it through the system, since whoring themselves and their beliefs and principles to the highest bidder is anathema to them. Yet watching which way the wind blows and committing yourself to it wholeheartedly, as though the trend of the day was always your most deeply cherished belief, and always knowing on which side your bread is buttered is a requirement of advancing through this system. Thus, the political and monied interests who have the most to lose from a change in the status quo are also the gatekeepers deciding who does and does not stand a chance of holding public office.

    It's why nothing ever really changes because "change" has been redefined to mean "becoming more so" or "advancing further down the path we were already on". Again I wish I could attribute that saying about our politics becoming more polar and divisive while our parties become more homogeneous, for this is more evidence of what I am saying.

  • by Achromatic1978 (916097) <robert@ch r o m a b l u e . net> on Friday May 14, 2010 @03:38PM (#32211842)

    No joke. The constitutions and other founding legal documents of all modern governments should have included a clause stating that when any politician, law enforcement officer, or other government official breaks the law, they will be subject to three times the penalty (fines, duration of incarceration, or both) that an ordinary citizen would suffer had he or she done the same. The reasoning is that when they break the law, it represents a threat to the institution of law and the concept of the rule of law, both of which are fundamental and essential to the functioning of modern society.

    How does that fit with another central tenet of justice, that she is blind, and/or "All are equal before the law"?

    The way to punish those who make laws for breaking them is not to spank them three times as hard, it's to spank them. The problem is, most of the time we don't spank them at all.

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Friday May 14, 2010 @04:49PM (#32212904) Journal

    AH, I realize you're being trollish in expressing your opinion. And I don't usually feed the trolls, but here I go anyways.

    The XKCD comic on Malamanteau is funny for the exact reason you don't get it. You (yes you) and others like you are what make it funny.

    You see, the comic is a joke on you. It wasn't funny in its outright, it was funny because of all the reaction to it.

    The reaction was understood by the author, before it was even penned. The reaction was guaranteed, which is what makes the whole thing so damn funny. All the posturing and preening and asshattery being done in the name of Wankipedia (sic) is part of the joke.

    You don't get the joke, because you're on the wrong side of the joke. You probably take this kind of thing way too seriously to realize what I'm saying, which makes the whole thing even funnier than it was just a moment ago.

    It is was a perfectly genius stroke of humor. And I'm still laughing ... but mostly at people like you who won't get the joke.

  • by Protoslo (752870) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:43PM (#32214286)
    When I read this article, I immediately thought, what if he edited wikipedia (with a sockpuppet) to coincide with his bill before he introduced it? He can't be said to plagiarize his own text, after all.

    The revision history [wikipedia.org] of the article reveals that the current first three paragraphs were written [wikipedia.org] on 19 April 2010 by Andreasmperu [wikipedia.org], who has been a prolific spanish wikipedia user for some years, is certainly not a sock puppet, is probably a woman, and may be from Peru.

    Since I have disposed with the sock puppet theory, I feel comfortable embracing the much more humorous prevailing theory (pleasantly reinforcing my preconceptions about politicians) that Gerónimo Vargas Aignasse did in fact plagiarize the text of his plagiarism bill.
  • Many laws have various types of aggravating circumstances. Abuse of a position of authority in the commission of a crime actually is frequently considered to be one. "All are equal before the law" does not prohibit taking circumstances into account, or accounting for aggravating and mitigating factors in sentencing.

    That being the case, the central problem is exactly the one you identified. If those in a position of authority never get prosecuted for their crimes at all, the question of what we would sentence them to if they were becomes rather moot.

    As to this idiot, I hope if they pass his law they make him its first prosecution. It's the very definition of arrogance and believing you're above the law to commit the very crime you're trying to prohibit others from doing while writing the law to prohibit it.

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