Tuesday, December 07, 2004

All the world's a copy-cat

Rejoice, we Indians aren't the only ones who plagiarise! Got a mail from Alan Vanneman, who writes for the Bright Lights Film journal (read some of his film writings here). Had told him about the Ebert/Kazmi incident. His reply:

"If there's one thing the web is good for, it's plagarism. Four or five years ago I did a piece on the Doris Day-Rock Hudson-Tony Randall films of the sixties, and recently an author for Slate "borrowed" my findings when she wrote up Tony's obituary. I sent Slate a note and they gave me credit, which was nice..."

So, does this mean the Times of India movie reviews merit a joint byline? If that were to happen, then given some of the asinine 'alterations' made to the Ebert review, the Chicago Sun-Times would have good reason to sue...


  1. did someone say shougat? the name sounds familiar, if m not mistaken, did he work for that rag cald today, of course, he shud know abt plagiarism, he's the one doing it all teh time, n wat's worse is he's even less ingenious at copying, remember having read a TODAY piece on gothica, where he'd picked examples of bad dialogues, mentioned verbatim on a rotten tomatoes site .. and well, don't want to comment on the 'writing' of other some other commentators here who write english in other languages for their websites

  2. it's me again (not the same one as the occasional book reviwer), writing comments to earlier posts here, m i the only one here who's surprised that ppl shud be surprised given NK's utter lack of film appreciation? n from jai's piece i gather reviews of indian films are better considering 'critics' have been writing them since the 80s. NK's the person who called jism path-breaking, after that i stopped reading anythign under her byline or hindi headlines, for that matter, she as many other 'critics' raved abt the 'New age cinema' praising gibberish like mumbai matinee, joggers park and the like, think its;a reflection on us too that she's been around n is greatly looked upon by other journos

  3. well i think shougat's brilliant.

  4. I'm not surprised by the TOI film critic's plagiarism. There are journos at another publication from that group who lift nonchalantly from international magazines. One guy stole regularly from the economist much to the chagrin of his colleagues. But what's upsetting is that nothing seems to have happened to Nikhat Kazmi or other intellectual property thieves like her in that group. I wonder whether her employers have taken her to task over this.

  5. Plagiarism is a crime sure, but let me set a few points straight here. Nothing justifies NK's lifting chunks from Roger Ebert's review but I would like to raise some points about the whistle blower here, Shougat Dasgupta to be precise. Works for a two bit tabloid like Today and is still looking for a direction (I mean he writes reviews on films and food and even interviews music artistes in his spare time. Dude is there any particular beat you follow?) Secondly the reason why he was so "distressed" on reading Nikhat's review, I am ready to bet my last penny on, was because he himself was planning to do a copy, paste job. Yeah right, Shougat it might surprise you but people actually read the crap you write. His reviews are basically stanzas from different critics and he has the gall to point fingers. Sweets, news flash for you, you are not the only one surfing rotten tomatoes.com.
    And the pot told the kettle, "you are calling me black?"

  6. Okay, I'd told myself I wouldn't get any more involved with a mud-slinging bout that's already gone too far, but I guess one of the functions of a blog is to provoke you into doing things you don't want to do. So here goes. To Anonymous: I'm not going to comment on your very personal attack on Shougat except to say he certainly isn't the 'whistleblower' you make him out to be. What he told me on the phone was part of a private bitching session between friends, I'm the one who splashed it on a public forum.

    You've probably heard this before, but it's cowardly to make such accusations without revealing your identity. So pull off that mask or shut up.


  7. Hi again Anonymous, a message from Shougat. He wants me to tell you he does his plagiarising from www.mrqe.com, not from Rotten Tomatoes. MRQE is 'Movie Review Query Engine', you might want to check it out yourself sometime. I know I will.
    Shougat also says you sound like such a toughie, so why remain Anonymous?

  8. to think i would have missed all this excitement if i hadnt clicked on the comments thing.
    go shougat! go jai! go anonymous!

  9. a clarification: there r two persons posting anon comments here, i reckon the 'personal attack' jai is talking abt refers to the 3rd comment, i posted the first two comments, but was surprised to c another person had pretty much the same thing to say, didn't mean mine to be personal at all ..
    shougat: whoa! tks 4 letting it on where u whack ur reviews from, i had meant i saw the one u lifted from featured on rotten tomatoes
    m at lunatic.rediffblogs.com, which i plan to revamp soon ...

  10. Hey Anon,
    If rottentomatos.com picks up a dialogue from a film, and Shougat picks up that dialogue from that film, who's plagiarising? Both ...? Forget it that's too tricky a question for you. Ok then, pick up a torch and throw the light on your left ear... well damnit you won't get this one. Too dense. By the way, haven't you read parts of the first sentence in this comment (rottentomatos.com, dialogue, film, Shougat, plagiarising)? Oh yeah, these words originally appeared on your comment here. Did I plagiarise from your comment? Hope this isn't too tricky.

    (Sorry, I plagiarised even your user name.)

  11. It gets interesting here, doesn't it? So, just to straighten this out: we have one Anon who's making cheap--and completely unsubstantiated--potshots at Shougat, and another Anon who's saying "wasn't me". To Anon One, all I have to say is, you cur you, you yellowbellied excuse for a gentleman's washrag, put up or shut up.
    I don't quite get why Shougat's range of interests should be a problem: not everyone needs to be a monomaniac.

  12. anon, agree with the rest that u need to shut up, u have no idea abt what i was talkign about, i wasn't talking abt A dialogue, but three, which both RT and SD thot made poor writing, struck me cos cudn't really figure why in a film that bad only THOSE three shud be help up as examples,

  13. I get 12 comments for THIS and nothing at all for the brilliant Triumph the Dog blog??!

  14. Will wonders ever cease? I actually agree with a point both Jai and Shougat raise which is being cowardly in keeping my identity hidden (btw, I am the second anonymous) but (god this sounds lame even to me) but I cannot give my name, not right now anyhow...to the anonymous who plagirised my name and cast some serious aspersions on my grey matter, I ask one thing: do you know what film reviewing is all about? It does not consist of just printing dialogues from the film (btw, i never even mentioned dialogues in the post) and yes, there is too much of a coincidence if two critics pick up the same sentences and analyse it.
    As for Shougat, another tip for him: IMDB has a link for external reviews....might help your case if you are looking for some extra matter to put in your reviews next time.
    The NK affair might have started out as a whistleblowing exercise...but now has become a reason for other papers to pull down TOI (not that it does not deserve to...)
    Jabberwock: I cannot get rid of the niggling doubt that your newspaper was the first to carry a coloumn (on the edit page for heaves sake) on this for the simple reason that some time ago a journalist from your organisation was accused of plagirising Sudipto Dey's copy from ET ONline. Ring a bell?

  15. Hi 2nd Anonymous,
    Agree completely with your point about this whole thing turning into a pretext for malicious TOI-bashing. That wasn't my original intention at all and while I have no sympathy for the woman in question, I do get fed up myself with this sanctimonious tsk-tsking about the sins committed by "Big Media". I do have personal newspaper/magazine preferences but frankly I don't think ANY of our mainstream papers/mags (Indian Express, Outlook, whatever) are so high-quality that they can afford to point fingers at others.

    And yes, you may be right about the Business Standard plagiarism incident. I think one of our reporters was asked to leave, am not sure about the details. Happened a little over a year ago.

    Still have a problem with your personal comments about SD but have had enough of the mud-raking so won't comment further on that.

    (Whew! 15 comments now and counting...)

  16. Way to go, Leo. Can see you strutting and preening as you drive along in your refurbished car listening to Eminem... So has the smile reached your ears yet?

  17. ah, thought i'd missed something. but seems haven't much. Shougat? Writes well, and even if its a rag, he lends it some sort of respectability. In fact Today's 'exposes', a tad sensationalised, are good too.
    Hey Jai, condolences for the lack of responses on the dog thing (or was it the sock thing?)
    And hey Anon (1,2, whichever), give up on Shougat will you?

  18. aha, bj, err, i mean jb ... or is that mrs. emmm, is talking about respectablility ... btw, this is anon3