Categories
Internet

The Independent: Plagiarism or Coincidence? You Decide

Mulley has an interesting post over here.

The guys at Value Ireland were trawling through the Internet, as one does, when they noticed an incredible coincidence.

What? What was the coincidence?

Well, back in 2004, they wrote a piece about getting value when buying home insurance. Then they came across a piece from the Independent in 2007. Now, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed the coincidences, but to make it easier, I’ve put the quotes side by side for you. Judge for yourself.

Value Ireland (2004) Independent.ie (2007)
If you are able, it is an idea to pay your full insurance premium in one lump sum rather than through monthly repayments. This can save you money as some companies may charge you a rate of interest … If you are able, it is an idea to pay your full insurance premium in one lump sum rather than through monthly repayments. This can save you money as some companies may charge you a rate of interest.

Isn’t that incredible? Isn’t it just amazing that Value Ireland could write these words in 2004, and by an astounding psychic fluke, the Independent journalist just happened to write exactly the same thing three years later?

But wait! What’s this?

Value Ireland (2004) Independent.ie (2007)
Some companies provide discounts if you hold more than one insurance policy with them. So if you already have car or life insurance with a single company, ask for a quote for your home insurance, and ask if they can offer you any discount … … some companies provide discounts if you hold more than one insurance policy with them. So if you already have car or life insurance with a single company, ask for a quote for your home insurance, and ask if they can offer you any discount.

Surely not! This is astonishing.

And another:

Value Ireland (2004) Independent.ie (2007)
Always keep an eye out for special offers that may be offered at various times by different insurance companies. For example, look out for money back guarantees … This can assure you that you’re not being stung. Always keep an eye out for special offers that may be offered at various times by different insurance companies. For example, look out for money-back guarantees. This can assure you that you’re not being stung.

Oh for God’s sake, the mind is boggling. Can you believe there’s more?

Value Ireland (2004) Independent.ie (2007)
You could bring down your premium costs by volunteering to pay more of an excess towards the cost of each claim. Only do this if you can afford to do so however. You could bring down your premium costs by volunteering to pay more of an excess towards the cost of each claim. Only do this if you can afford to do so, however.

Isn’t that just an astounding coincidence? What are we to conclude?

You could say that the Independent stole the copyright on this material, or you could decide it’s all a terrible mistake. Now, personally I don’t know if the Independent stole copyright material from a blogger. In fact, I’d say Value Ireland somehow guessed what the Indo was going to write three years in the future, wouldn’t you?

After all, this is the newspaper that thinks bloggers are of no value, so it couldn’t be possible that they stole material from a blogger, now could it?

And then, just when you don’t know what to think, here comes that damned plagiarist, Derfen making light of the whole thing, damn him!

I wonder if the other Irish papers think this is plagiarism?

Let’s ask them.

What do you reckon, guys? Is this plagiarism by the Independent, or did Value Ireland somehow see into the future?

UPDATE

The plot (as they say) thickens.

In the comments, we have Value Ireland revealing that they informed the Independent of the cut-and-paste operation, and in fairness to the Indo they took the article down.

Great.

What did this magnificent organ do next?

They promptly republished it, under a new title. Now there’s ethics for you.

The we had Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today, commenting as follows:

That has to be the most unprofessional thing I’ve heard of. Any reputation the Independent had in my mind (which really wasn’t that much to start with) is gone now.

I might have to look into this deeper.

Indeed.

Value Ireland came back with this:

I wrote to the journalist in question requesting credit for this, and any other work that was used from Value Ireland. I have no problems with anyone using anything from the site, as long as reference and credit is provided.

Obviously, there was no response from said journalist and in the course of writing my original post last week discovered that the original article had been taken down, and republished under a different file name.

So there you have it. These are the standards we’ve come to expect from the Irish Beano Independent.


Previously:The Ace Internet Marketing scandal


Related:Plagiarism Today

Twenty

Green Ink

That Friday Feeling