Sorry: => Copyright / plagarism

christian thompson cthompson at SEL.BARC.USDA.GOV
Fri Jun 3 13:59:07 CDT 2005

Richard and others:

I am sorry, but I should not tried to be funny, but to have made it

There are two issues which are totally separate:

one is copyright which is a legal issue and the other is plagarism
which is an academic / ethical issue.

People tend to confuse them. Regardless of what one does about
copyright, one must always, if they are to be considered a scientist,
ethical, etc., respect the intellectual property of the creator,
regardless of who is the legal copyright holder, by giving proper

I am a US Government employee, so all the work I do can be freely
copied, used, etc., by any one in the World. However, anyone who uses my
work without giving proper attribution to me, the author, violates the
standards of our profession. And would, for example, violate the US
Federal Policy on Research Misconduct. So, Richard, if MOBOT removes
your name from your work whether it be digital, printed, copyrighted by
them (that is, work for hire), or whatever, then MOBOT would have
committed plagiarism and would be barred from receiving Federal funds,
such as NSF grants.

And unfortunately, plagarism is not unusual. Yes, Richard is right.
There are cases where subsequent workers have claimed credit for work of
their deceased predecessors. Many of these cases involve unpublished
manuscripts, but both copyright and plagarism also extend to "created,"
but unpublished work.

Oh, well ...

>>> <Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG> 06/03/05 12:33PM >>>
Well, most of us are concerned about our legacy. Even if who we
actually are
is forgotten, a name on a publication tells future generations that
cared enough to do the work and that it was a work of individual
and passion, not a "team effort."

Richard H. Zander
Bryology Group, Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
richard.zander at <mailto:richard.zander at>
Voice: 314-577-5180;  Fax: 314-577-9595
Bryophyte Volumes of Flora of North America:
Res Botanica:
Shipping address for UPS, etc.:
Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

-----Original Message-----
From: christian thompson [mailto:cthompson at]
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2005 11:22 AM
Subject: Re: copyright on description


Your comments are very interesting and just start illustrating some of
the copyright issues. Do you get NSF or government funding? Read the
contract terms. Most never do, but there are assignment clauses
in them.

But it was your last line that got me:

What if you are dead?

Well, then I won't worry about my rights any more!


F. Christian Thompson
Systematic Entomology Lab., USDA
c/o Smithsonian Institution
MRC-0169 NHB
PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
(202) 382-1800 voice
(202) 786-9422 FAX
cthompso at e-mail  web site

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