Associated Content allows contributors to submit articles for both review and immediate publication. With either submission type, more so with the un-reviewed, plagiarism is always a problem. This is true of any site. If VentureBeat is on target, Associated Content has just raised the stakes for those unscrupulous people who would rip-off a legitimate author’s work.
VentureBeat reports that AC has added Attributor software to their process to scan the web for plagiarized articles. Unfortunately, many contributors use articles that they have previously put on the web as re-publish fodder for AC. This becomes a sticky situation for software that only matches chucks of text.
In the past, some AC contributors have been on the receiving end of nasty-grams from AC when their old articles were detected by their current plagiarism-detection software. When the bylines didn’t match, it became a non-starter for the publication of the material at AC. There have also been cases where the bylines matched perfectly, but AC’s over-protective software still flagged the article and the author still got the hassle-gram.
An article submitted to AC for payment consideration will obviously be subject to plagiarism scanning, but it is unclear if/how AC intends to implement this for other articles. Most of the articles that have created the accusations of plagiarism in the past were submitted under AC’s non-reviewed, bonus-only payment program. One wonders if AC will police its contributions on a regular basis regardless of review. Maybe a periodic scan of all recently published articles in the works. This writer welcomes such a policy. It only takes a few unethical people to make an entire community look like crooks.
On a related note, AC recently published new photo-use guidelines. There has been no end to confusion of correct use of photos to compliment an article. Many people just pull photos from anywhere on the web without regard to copyright. AC took recent steps to limit and/or strip suspect and improperly cited photos from their site. The new guidelines don’t address every source of free photos, but make it clear that just finding a picture on the web isn’t a valid reason for using it.