Oyez, oyez

The traditional Town Crier delivers the material he’s been given; he does not make it up on his own. If he did, they’d have him drawn and quartered, or maybe eighthed or sixteenthed, once they found out.

Then there’s the Dubuque Town Crier. We grant him no link, on the basis that the stuff he posts has often been lifted from elsewhere, yet he gives the impression that he made it up on his own:

Several months ago, I wrote this blog post about the inherent coercion of government. It’s good, you should read it.

It was posted in full (with a pingback link, but no text clearly crediting me at the bottom of the post) at The Dubuque Town Crier, a website administered by one William K. Hammel of Jaeger Drive, Dubuque, Iowa.

Now part of that original post was an image macro with a statement by Penn Jillette; it didn’t contain his name, but it did feature a picture of him, so I would consider that to be more or less properly attributed. If Hammel had just lifted the image … but no, he decided to scoop up the entire post. And pingbacks, I submit, do not qualify as proper attribution, since all they contain is a URL and maybe a scrap of text.

To qualify the word “often,” in the context in which I used it, I point you to the aggrieved author’s post, which cites several other instances; one might reasonably describe him, based on these cites, as a serial plagiarist. It’s a heck of a production model, I suppose, but it runs counter to that whole “integrity” business.

I should note here that in a couple of incidents in which I myself apparently had run afoul of “fair use” standards, the owners and/or their legal representatives registered complaints, and I duly removed the material in question.

(Via this Gabriel Malor tweet.)


  1. McGehee »

    26 January 2013 · 10:19 pm

    When I’ve found my material posted in full on someone else’s site without my permision and without attribution, I only had to ask once for it to be removed.

    Not that what was lifted from me actually would have reflected any better on the plagiarist than the author, of course. I use the same defense strategy, by the way, against identity theft and accusations of being two-faced.

  2. April »

    28 January 2013 · 2:28 pm

    Thanks for the support. I was rather shocked by his response, but it’s nice that the digital community has my back.

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