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Plagiarism is plagiarism unless we call it something else? (Credit: iMediaEthics photo illustration. Unknown photographer via University of Nebraska archive)

The Paper, a free, small community newspaper in California, has offered a unique excuse for plagiarism — anthology.

“We don’t see it as plagiarism,” the paper’s editor and publisher Lyle E. Davis claimed to UT San Diego, a San Diego newspaper, when confronted with the accusations of plagiarism. “We see it as an anthology,” he said.

Anthology is defined as “a published collection of writings.” See below:

Davis also tried to claim he could use the content under fair use and says, “we blend all sources together.”

The Paper, which is based in San Marcos, California, plagiarized at least three articles, UT San Diego reported.

“Three recent front page articles — one about the history of funerals, another about Navajo tribes and a third about a Civil War love letter — used content taken from various websites, word-for-word, paragraph after paragraph, without attribution,” UT San Diego found.

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A front-page article from last month was stolen from numerous sources including encyclopedia.com, according to UT San Diego.

Interestingly, when stealing work, The Paper dropped attribution that was included in the original article, too. Melody Moorehouse, who wrote an article for The Funeral Source that was stolen, had attributed to another outlet information in her report. But, when it was lifted by The Paper, not only was there no attribution to The Funeral Source, the attribution in Moorehouse’s article was dropped, too. The Funeral Source’s founder confirmed that the article is “almost word for word.”

A woman named Colleen Powers tipped UT San Diego off to the stolen work. She called the Paper’s use of other outlets’ work “very unethical.”

iMediaEthics has asked The Paper for comment. We’ve also asked if The Paper will be updating its standards regarding attribution.

Hat Tip: Jim Romenesko

UPDATE: 8/4/2014 2:54 MP EST Added more information.

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California newspaper’s excuse: It’s not plagiarism, it’s ‘anthology’

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