Chris Anderson’s Free contains what is apparently plagiarized text.

Over on VQR I wrote:

In the course of reading Chris Anderson’s new book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price (Hyperion, $26.99), for a review in an upcoming issue of VQR, we have discovered almost a dozen passages that are reproduced nearly verbatim from uncredited sources. These instances were identified after a cursory investigation, after I checked by hand several dozen suspect passages in the whole of the 274-page book. This was not an exhaustive search, since I don’t have access to an electronic version of the book. Most of the passages, but not all, come from Wikipedia. Anderson is the author of the best-selling 2006 book The Long Tail and is the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine. The official publication date for Free is July 7.

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9 thoughts on “Chris Anderson’s Free contains what is apparently plagiarized text.”

  1. hey, if anyone knows how to put that link in so people can click on it, be my guest to fix it up for this older lady. :)

  2. Honestly, I’m not comfortable saying whether I was satisfied with his response. I’ve got my reporter cap on w/r/t this matter, and it’s not my job to be satisfied or not.

    Based on the comments that I’ve read from publications around the country, it does appear that many people are not satisfied with his response. (Some of these people, incidentally, strike me as bitter and vindictive. Anderson, IIRC, wrote a great blog entry a few years ago in which he outed the lazy publicists who sent out useless press releases to enormous CC lists that included random Wired staffers. Publicists have been looking for revenge ever since. I discount their criticisms, because they’re motivated by anger.) The objection that I’ve seen most frequently are that a) a “write through” sounds like a euphemism for covering up plagiarism better and b) footnoting is insufficient for this level of reproduction—a blockquote is more appropriate.

    I’m glad to see that many publications didn’t bother to name me, and that fewer still tried to get in touch with me for an interview. The story is not about me. The story is about some facts that VQR put forward (though my name is on this, this was very much a team effort), Free, and Chris Anderson. There’s nothing more for me to add. Yay to reporters for realizing that.

  3. Damn Waldo you’ve gone viral- http://gizmodo.com/5302629/swiped

    You’re going to get called by the press any day now. Remember us when you go on CNN, MSNBC and Digg. This thing is getting bigger every 6 hours. It’s an amazing bit on work by you and the team.

  4. Well, that’s kind of you to say, but I don’t think there’s any danger of me being on CNN or MSNBC. :) Presumably this story peaked hours ago, and will soon disappear, since there’s really nothing more to be said. Then we can all forget about it, and I’ll have one more to add to my “hey, aren’t you that guy who…?” response menu when somebody asks me that once a year.

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