Friday, April 15, 2016

WORLD: as plagiarism scandals emerged in the last few years, Christian publishers having to address problems of prevention

The two fairly predictable highlights cases are Mark Driscoll in general and Doug Wilson and Randy Booth's A Justice Primer in particular.  The irony was that just when I was thinking of maybe actually ordering that last book to see what it had to say about justice in the era of the blog (per some glowing review verbiage at The Gospel Coalition) ... turns out the book was retracted over plagiarism.

Longtime readers might recall that we compared chapter 7 of Real Marriage to a chapter from Dan Allender's The Wounded Heart back in 2013.  Actually, as Janet Mefferd noted that year, the comparison was up here before she had her fateful interview with Driscoll on the air.  So she wasn't even the first person to publicly raise some concerns about the possibility of uncited appropriation of material in Driscoll's output. 

It was interesting to read that somebody seems to think that using anti-plagiarism software could ... somehow constitute piracy.  That's really weird to read someone say after a few years of Christians saying that intellectual property isn't really Christian here and there on the internet.  It's one thing to suggest that contemporary copyright and licensing laws need reform and another to assert that copyright itself is somehow immoral in itself.  I haven't seen an intellectually compelling or coherent argument against copyright in categorical terms, but I've seen some compelling arguments that copyright law and licensing law have been hijacked by vested interests.  How could plagiarism checking constitute piracy if not all Christians seem to even think piracy itself is all that big a deal? 

Again, the irony of A Justice Primer being retracted over plagiarism that was uncovered by a blogger would be hard to overstate. 

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