A few years ago, a major US newspaper was involved in a brouhaha when one of their longtime reporters was caught plagiarizing material in his articles. At the time, I thought, “Yeah, he was wrong to do it, but man, aren’t they making an awfully big deal of all this?” I mean, it was constantly on all the news networks for several days. Surely they’ll just give the guy a slap on the wrist and be done with it, I thought.
But having gone through a similar incident at TwoMorrows recently, I’m not so naive anymore. Plagiarism not only steals material from the person who put in the actual effort, it causes a huge domino effect that needlessly drags down not only the offender, but the innocent author, their publisher, and likely a lot of other people. It can cause a huge loss of time, productivity, andâ€”if the victim is litigiousâ€”money in legal feels. It also causes publishers to burn up space in their blogs like this one, when they really should be getting Comics Gone Ape! ready for the printer.
All in all, it’s a big pain in the posterior, just because a writer was too lazy to simply credit sources in their work.
So, here’s our official policy on quoting material for our publications. If you’ve ever considered writing something for us, these are the guidelines if you’re going to quote from someone else. This info is also available on our website under “Submission Guidelines.”
Also, if you’re thinking of quoting some TwoMorrows material for use at a different publisher, I’d strongly advise you to adhere to these guidelines: request an OK from us first, and credit our source material when you do. Our contributors work really hard on our books and magazines, and I will do whatever possible to protect the rights of our authors to benefit from their hard work.
Sorry if this is a downer, but it’s serious enough that I felt I had to make everyone aware of it. Just credit your sources; it’s really not that much extra work, and it’s the right thing to do.
TWOMORROWS PUBLISHING POLICY ON QUOTING MATERIAL
“Fair Use” allows excerpts of copyrighted material to be used for journalistic purposes. However, it must be credited to the copyright owner, or it becomes plagiarismâ€”presenting someone else’s work as your ownâ€”which cannot be condoned.
So if you quote a previously published source for your work for TwoMorrows Publishing, the source you’re quoting must be properly credited. It can be as a footnote, bibliography, or a note at the end of the article, or it can be included as a line in the article itself, such as:
–In his interview with Roy Thomas in Alter Ego #44, Joe Blow stated, “That guy was crazy!”–
At the bare minimum, you should credit the title of the publication and the author you are quoting from, ALWAYS. When possible, we encourage contributors to also include specifics about the publication (publisher’s name, issue and page number, etc.).
It is the contributor’s responsibility to ask permission from the author of the source they are quoting from, if the material to be quoted is more than 3 paragraphs (or in the case of shorter source material, roughly 5% of the material). While it’s not required, we also encourage contributors to ask permission of the author to quote their material when it is less than that amount. In most instances, author’s will gladly give permission, as long as credit is given.
Publisher John Morrow is happy to provide assistance in tracking down the authors of any source material for permission; send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we’re unable to track down the author for permission, John will make a decision on a case-by-case basis about whether to include the material without specific permission. However, if permission is expressly denied by the author, the material can not be used.
If, in the opinion of publisher John Morrow, a contributor violates this policy, the contributor will receive one warning. If the problem occurs again, TwoMorrows will no long accept any material from that contributor.