Plagiarism

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But copying whole articles without citation is not.

While plagiarism has been there forever, the Internet makes it really easy. At the same time, it makes it easy to find out if someone has copied and pasted your writing and passed it off as their own.

Recently, I found out that Paksir has copied my blog article about global gender attitudes without so much as a hint of where it came from. My comment on his blog to provide a link has gone unanswered for more than two weeks.

Let’s look at a more amusing example: Muhammad Imran Latif’s portfolio page. I was alerted to the similarities with my About Zack page last year. I tried contacting him, but got no reply. Since then, I have made some minor changes to my about page, so let’s compare his description of himself with mine from the wayback machine

Imran Latif Me
My name is Muhammad Imran Latif. I am usually known as Pomy & Imran. My name is Zakaria Ajmal. “Zakaria” is a biblical name and hence has different spellings and pronunciations in different languages. I don’t mind the different spellings that much, but to make it easy, I am usually known as Zack.
I am 27 years old and i am originally from Pakistan where I was born and raised. I was living in Daska, the beautiful city, before coming to the Islamabad. I am a Muslim. I am 35 years old and am originally from Pakistan where I was born and raised. I was living in Islamabad, the capital city, before coming to the US. Like most of the Pakistani population (97% according to the CIA World Factbook), I am a Muslim.
I came to the Islamabad 1 years ago and am currently a Web designer and Network administrator Computer field. I came to the US 9 years ago and am currently a graduate student in Electrical and Computer Engineering (research interests: computer vision and graphics/animation, video and image analysis, telepresence, etc.) at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA.
Other than research and teaching, I like to plants and gardening. I am also very much interested in economics, information technology teaching, social work, politics and national affairs. Other than research and teaching, I like to camp and hike, travel and take photographs with my digital camera. I am also very much interested in science fiction, history, politics and international affairs.
I got married to Sofia (nickname: Bahaar) on September 5, 2005. We have had a lot of fun together and plan to live together happily ever after. I got married to Ambrin (nickname: Amber) on December 1, 1994. We have had a lot of fun together and plan to live together happily ever after.
On August 29, 2006, a cute Michelle was born to Baahar and me. Nowadays, she is the center of our universe. On August 12, 2004, a cute Michelle was born to Amber and me. Nowadays, she is the center of our universe. She has a weblog of her own on which we post her photographs, video clips and milestones etc. If you would like to read her blog, please email me.

How much do you want to bet that Imran’s daughter is not actually named Michelle?

For the record, here is my policy on copying stuff:

All original content, whether text, images or multimedia, on this weblog, Procrastination, is Copyright © Zakaria Ajmal, except for posts by other authors which belong to them.

You can excerpt the contents of this website anywhere else but you must attribute it to us and cite the location (URL) from which you are quoting. However, you are not allowed to copy our images without permission. Similarly, you are not allowed to hotlink to any of our photographs.

An exception to this policy pertains to the comments by visitors and readers, which belong to the commenters themselves.

Hat tip to the two readers who tipped me off about these two cases.

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer

17 thoughts on “Plagiarism”

  1. thanks for bringing this up

    keep repeating this periodically till that gentleman acknowledges the indiscretion

    actually, plagiarism is worse…

    🙂

  2. Great report – this is an ongoing problem not only in Pakistan but the world over – people trying to reap the rewards of a free lunch.

    I too have made the complaint on PakSir lets hope he does provide a courtesy link-back

    thanks

  3. that is so weird. why would someone copy something like that? weird weird weird. I know conversion stories are stolen often…. lame but that’s what happens with information so publicly available. How lame that people have to copy someone else’s identity and experiences. Shows how much their life is lacking.

  4. God, that’s plain weird Zack. I mean, he’s literally copied sentences about his daughter being the centre of his universe…what’s more, hes copied her name!!!

    I wonder why he didn’t just post a link to your blog saying ‘This guy has posted a description of me. Check it out here’

    Its really pathetic…tells you about how intellectually starved we are…we’re actually copying someone’s INTRODUCTORY sentences! He has to copy someone for ‘about me’ so what will this person be like in real life..that’s beyond imagining. He can’t even introduce himself without the crutches of what someone else has written.

    Someone plagiarized my work too. I did a project for university on a topic that was shoved down my throat by the course instructor. We found out that all the ‘good students’ have been given different aspects of the same topic. Later this year, we found a paper by that name published in an international journal…it literally copied out our sentences word-for-word. Its on every level in Pakistan. I have no idea of the state of plagiarism in America, but in Pakistan, lack of copyright laws and their subsequent enforcement has led to it being rampant at every level.

  5. Well, my professor (in CA, USA) told me that when she was in Tunisia, she went into a bookstore, where she stumbled upon a book whose topic was the same as her PhD dissertation’s. Excited at first, she grabbed it and went through the pages. She found out that it was here thesis, word for word. The author of the book was a fellow who had asked her if he could see her thesis when they were in grad school. She notified the appropriate university authorities, and they stripped him of his PhD.

  6. یه تو صرف ایسا لگتا ہے که کوئی بندھ میری طرح انگریزی لکھنے میں کمزور تها اور اپ کے لکھے کو موڈیفائی کر کے کام چلا لیا ہے

  7. Zack – I had recently signed him up on Bloggers.pk – but looking at the rampant copy pasting he continues to do on his blog, I felt it best to remove the link from our system, I feel its just the right thing to do, if he cant respect basic courtesy, then we at bloggers.pk should not join in promoting his blog

    Just our small way to help heal the wounds – yes we did not ask for much – just a courtesy link back, that too remains ignored

    Peace

  8. No worry my dear son! The world has been like that. Not only bloggers (which is very recent) but also writers of magazines, my collegues and, upon all, my bosses have been ditto copying my write-ups. Four decades back my boss used a farewel address written by me by changing only the names. Over five decades back, my article was published in a magazine with some else’s name whom I didn’t know.

    Just laugh it off.

  9. That last bit defines ironic; I feel sorry for that man’s daughter, if he even has a daughter. And, you wonder why I do not often post my thoughts on the internet?

  10. I find it tragic.
    He stole your words, I wonder if the idea was to steal your life; and why not, you got the highest level of education, you have travelled, God knows how many countries, you have freedom, educated wife, live like free birds, have all tons of goodies.
    Well, life cannot be stolen but one can always create a proxy. It reminds me some short story by Manto (I forgot title of that afsana), in whihc a car driver lived proxy life, made himself beleive that his boss’s daughter loves him, eventually committed suicide.
    Your blog is nice, but it may be suffocating many. Please watch (or re-watch) “Fahmeeda ki kahani, Ustani Rahat ki Zubani” by Ashfaq Ahmad.

  11. If anybody knows why that guy stole Zack’s sentences? I know because he is not good at English as most of the Pakistanis are and instead of learning English, he copied and pasted the sentences to make his life easier. That’s it.

  12. Thanks, guys.

    Mera Pakistan: That might be true but doesn’t that still fall under plagiarism? Couldn’t he at least have changed everything that didn’t apply to him?

    خاور: انگریزی ہو سکتا ہے کمزور ہو مگر نقل کے لئے بھی عقل کی ضرورت ہوتی ہے۔

  13. Zack , I was notified of this post , by Paksir himself ( we work together ) , don’t worry I’m after him to change his ‘writing style’ 🙂

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