Plagiarism 2.0

Wikipedia is attracting attention again. One of the online encyclopedia’s editors noticed that a column by a Honolulu Star Bulletin entertainment reporter, Tim Ryan, plagiarized a Wikipedia entry. Soon editors found Ryan had plagiarized from a number of Websites, such as NPR and E! Online. Ryan was fired when other Hawaiian papers reported the plagiarism.

With billions of Websites and powerful search engines, it is easier than ever to plagiarize. We occasionally get emails about a personal blog posting the complete text of one of our stories. A few lines with proper attribution is one thing, but to steal something whole-cloth is going too far. On the other hand, the power of the Web makes catching plagiarists easier than ever as well.

What can the public, and journalists, do to counter Internet plagiarism?