AV-rated 25+ yr Lawyer and 9+ yr Professional Writer. Blogging since 2006; first e-book published in 2007. Writing for web and print. Consulting with lawyers and writers on SEO and web-writing issues including indie publishing concerns, defamation (online reviews), and copyright infringement matters.
E-book sales increased an astonishing 252% during the first three months of 2010, according to Publisher's Weekly. This news comes from the industry analysis performed by the Association of American Publishers which keeps track of the publishing industry, and releases its statistics in periodic reports to its membership.
And this, even before Google Edition debuts with it offering of e-books that can be read without the need for any specific e-reader (Nook, Kindle, etc.).
Ben Elowitz at PaidContent has just published the first of his two-part analysis on what constitutes great content, now that we're well into the digital age. Taking the four pillars used by traditionalists -- credential, correctness, objectivity, and craftsmanship -- he opines on each, and how these criteria do not work in today's internet age.
For example, Elowitz discusses how the heady feeling of having your work published in The New York Times (credential) isn't as important now. Readers are looking for content that helps them -- focusing on the content itself -- much more than they are concerned with the source of that information.
What Elowitz is putting out on the table needs to be read. He's thought about these issues, and he has points to make.
However, I don't know that I can go so far as to agree with him that these tradtional methods are "useless." That may be going too far.
Credentials still mean something to me, for example -- and I think they still mean something to readers, too. I do check the source of the content I'm reading and a reputable source does carry more weight with me. I believe that The New York Times still stands for something.
Credentials may be less powerful than they once were, but they still exist and still count.
Lane's threatening a lawsuit is about to be filed based upon tortious interference and infliction of emotional distress, apparently because MNT wrote Random House - one of Posner's book publishers - and in doing so, exceeded their legal boundaries and caused legal harm to Posner.
Was There Plagiarism? Doesn't Seem to Be a Fact in Controversy That There Was. Yepper.
Gerald Posner, by the way, is a lawyer. He's also the author of numerous investigative nonfiction works on a range of topics from Motown to Hitler. Until the plagiarism controversy hit the presses last February, Posner served as Chief Investigative Reporter for Brown's Beast.
This snowball began its downhill run last winter, when the Novack story segued into investigations that were being made into Posner's work at The Daily Beast. And by investigations, I mean Slate's Jack Shafer revelations.
Gawker, among others, waits with baited breath ....
Over at Gawker, they're breathless with anticipation of this lawsuit, where an admitted plagiarist is suing the publication that was plagiarized for damages to him. Gawker's already dubbed Posner a contender for "World Plagiarism Record" with his sixteen (16) instances that the Miami New Times has reported.
My question: where's the probable cause for the threatened torts?
There may be many who are wondering how there is a distinctive difference between Random House editors reading Slate magazine and the Miami New Times and learning one of their authors is making serious admissions about his work (not fiction work, remember, but nonfiction: the kind of work that we readers assume to be factually accurate and trustworthy). Me too.
Here's my question: If the MNT wrote Random House, was the MNT reporter blabbing a secret? Is the letter really the probable cause of any harm to Posner's reputation and his future career? Really????
I was a litigator for many years, and I was raised in the Rambo era. I know the best defense is a good offense. I know being a plaintiff is much, much better than being a defendant in a trial. Let's see if the lawsuit is filed: I really, really, really want to read the pleadings.
What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism and copyright infringement are not synonymous terms. For a good example of plagiarism, you can check admitted examples already published in the Posner stories of Slate and the Miami New Times. To learn more about plagiarism, check out A Plagiarism Guide for Students. Suffice to say, it's a complicated thing.
Free Online Plagiarism Checkers
There are sites offering free "checkers" where you can cut and paste your text, and the site will surf the web to insure your writing is dangerously close to another's online work. One site (which I haven't tested) is Article Checker. And, there are also sites that offer a free service where you can check to see if your web writing has been lifted, like Copyscape.
I can report on Copyscape -- it did help a client of mine discover that some of their law firm blog posts had been cut and pasted into an individual blog. After a cease and desist letter was sent, the offending copy was removed from the individual's site. Maybe not the sexy story of Gerald Posner and the Miami New Times, but a good example of how big this problem may be (and probably is) out there on the Internet.
By first organizing the arguments into 76 distinct issues and then sorting those issues into 11 categories, their work is an excellent tool for those interested in this pending matter, particularly since they are organizing the arguments made and not providing their analysis of these issues. Very helpful.
As for what happens next, who knows. The case awaits its third federal judge, since the previously presiding Judge Chin was appointed to the appellate court and the first judge to hear the case, John Sprizzo, passed away.