[Taxacom] Botanical Plagiarism

Mark J. Costello markcost at gmail.com
Mon Mar 11 04:28:47 CDT 2013

I understand that while individual facts cannot be copyrighted, original
compilations can (e.g. a species list within some context). However, images
are not really facts and each one can be copyrighted (as they usually are). 

Attribution is good practice but only required if the CC or other
'permission' required it. I think this is why it is important to ascertain
and keep copyright so the holder can then formally complain about a breach
of the licence of use.

We had a World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) database downloaded and
published as a book, for sale on Amazon. As owner of the IP and copyright of
the WoRMS content, our society formally complained to the publisher who
removed it from their publication list in 2 weeks without further comment.
One of our colleagues wrote a book review on Amazon pointing out the source
of the book and that its content, now updated, was available for free
online. I am not sure if we would have had such good grounds to complain if
the author had actually attributed the source of the content because
arguably the re-organisation of the facts would have been a new creation. 

The only thing WoRMS asks users to do is cite the source (e.g. web page,
database as a whole) and the citation is at the foot of every page. Still
many scientists do not do so :)

Best wishes

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Arthur Chapman
Sent: Friday, 8 March 2013 9:43 a.m.
Subject: [Taxacom] Botanical Plagiarism

The following blog by Mark Watson about some botanical books that have 
been appearing recently - all derived from internet sources without 
attribution.may be of interest


Arthur D. Chapman
Ballan, Australia
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