Friday, November 03, 2006

Wikipedia plagiarism

A few days ago it was brought to my attention that a user named "Darin Fidika" on Wikipedia has been copying text sentence by sentence from the Samurai Archives to wikipedia for nearly a year. Various people from our corner jumped in to fight to get the copyrighted materials removed from wikipedia. It looks like this is finally happening. Up to at least 700 articles taken from the Samurai Archives sentence by sentence have been deleted or are slated for deletion.

Shockingly enough, "Darin Fidika" seems to be incapable of comprehending what he has done. He feels that even though entire articles were copied sentence by sentence from start to finish, because he changed a few words (and more often than not simply butchered the english language) that he is fully justified. His further "justification" for his theft is remarkably inane and ridiculous - he feels that there aren't "enough" samurai articles on wikipedia, and that it "isn't fair" that the samurai archives has all these articles. This is to say nothing of the time and effort that we have put into the Samurai Archives over the years, researching and translating Japanese sources, countless hours of effort to make the information available. "Darin Fidika" has no comprehension of research, study, plagiarism, or copyright. He believes that since he can't find any other information via the internet, it is OK to steal from the Samurai Archives, because "Where else can [he] find the information to create wikipedia articles?". Obviously, until such time that there are people at wikipedia willing to translate japanese sources, to do new research to create original, cohesive articles, there will be no additional "Samurai" articles on wikipedia. So what? If people who contribute to wikipedia are not willing to put in the time and effort to research and create articles, then obviously there is not much call for such articles. Wikipedia is not "the internet" - people who contribute to wikipedia do not have free reign to plagiarise copyrighted materials just because "there aren' t any articles about [it] on Wikipedia yet".

The sad fact is that probably fullly 60% of all sengoku related biographies, clan information, and general history currently on wikipedia has come from the Samurai Archives, and more often than not has gone uncited. I think it would be great if people interested in Japanese history would contribute new, original scholarship to wikipedia, rather than gut and rape the Samurai Archives for all it is worth. Everyone should find this fiasco with wikipedi disturbing. The fact that a single user, "Darin Fidika" was not only allowed to post hundreds of plagiarised articles completely uncited over the past year, but was also in fact lauded for his "interesting articles" (see his Talk page), is a severe blow to the reputation of wikipedia.

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