Plagiarism or coincidence? You decide

Just ran across this post today at one of my favorite sites, The Digital Lifesyle, and at first I was thrilled to see somoene appreciate the hard work Warren, Andy, and I put into automatically converting mkv files to dvr-ms. But then after reading through the entire post I noticed that nor my name or Engadget’s was anywhere to be found. Now maybe I’m jumping to conclusions, but it seems like too much of a coincidence for this not to be a derivative work. Now I’m accustomed to being ripped off online, but usually it is some hack site and not a reputable place like Ian’s site.


Ian was very responsive to my concerns and has pulled the post — but yet the link still works. Never the less,  the original author has added credit to his post on his blog, but in a way that seems half-hearted to me. But perhaps that is because the intent of his comment was lost in the British to American translation.

12 Responses to “Plagiarism or coincidence? You decide”

  1. Alton says:

    I think its rude, but not Plagiarism…

  2. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    I don’t really think that is an option.

    He either saw my post and wrote his, or he discovered the profiles I created in the latest version of DTB and wrote a post about it.

    If he saw my post and then wrote his without crediting, that is without a doubt plagiarism. At least according to this definition.

  3. I highly doubt this was intentional. They wrote this to address a fundamentally different problem.

    The convert to dvr-ms profile existed before your guide…it isn’t unthinkable that two people would come up with ways to make it useful and write illustrated guides.

  4. Hmm, I just read something that suggested that you wrote the Convert to DVR-MS profile. I didn’t realize that when I wrote the above. 🙂

  5. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    Whether or not I wrote the original profile is immaterial in regards to the accusation of plagiarism. The question is did the author see my original post before he wrote his or not?

    If he saw my post and didn’t reference it, then it is plagiarism, no matter who wrote the original profiles. An author is supposed to site their own sources, and not required to source every author who ever thought about the idea in the history of the world.

  6. It is rude, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call it plagiarism. It seems like it was written in his own voice even if he used Engadget as a resource. If you want to talk plagiarism, you should take a look at SmartHouse first. They get linked to by Engadget all the time even though they’ve been outed numerous times as hacks.

    One of the Aussie News programs also did a piece on SmartHouse and in it they claimed that over a six month period hackers had somehow posted plagiarized articles to his site. If you take a look at some of the articles in their archive you can see that they are still plagiarizing today.

  7. digital_archivist says:

    Has he since updated his post to reflect your contribution?

    The profile for DVRMSToolbox was developed by Ben of Engadget HD with help from Warren Wiltshire of Seagull Consulting for use in this guide. Be sure to head over there and check out Engadget HD as they have lots of great home theater related articles each day.

  8. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    Yes he updated his post, and added a half hearted apology saying “apparently this god amongh men warrants extra credit.” So in other words, I don’t deserve credit but I got it because I work for Engadget. Which is totally not even the point.

  9. BobsledOhio says:

    He is british. This is a compliment and not a backhanded one.

  10. I was assuming he hadn’t read your guide. My apologies.

    My American sensibilities make it difficult for me to see that correction as anything but sarcastic, but I am by no means the final authority.

    I noticed that Hack7MC also updated their post on this…not sure if it is the same post or not (I didn’t compare them). I think his statement of credit was worded more kindly though.

  11. ian says:

    the post was not my me, its the HackMC guy and I pulled the post after chatting with Ben. Not sure why its back up

  12. Julie J says:

    Hey, Ben — thought you’d enjoy some antics about a REAL plagiarist, David Richards. I’ll admit that we did steal a movie-poster graphic to create his own “CopyCat” movie poster. I’m sure he’s borrowed a few good nuggets from you …