ADVENTURES IN SITE TRACKING #14
STRANGE TALES OF PLAGIARISM

A long time ago, I used to run a section of this site called The Video Game Cameos & References Database. It was retired due to lack of interest and time on my part. However, sometime before it was shut down, we had a problem with a number of users who had attempted to sabotage the section by sending in hundreds of cameos that were either made up (ie, fake) or stolen from various websites and FAQs. The "saboteurs" scoured fansites and places like GameFAQs for information to submit, even though they hadn't actually played any of the games themselves to verify if what they found was true or not.

Some of the authors of those FAQs and websites discovered their work being plagiarized here and became (understandably) angry with me for it. As if all that wasn't bad enough, I got an email from Rey of the Video Game Museum informing me that one of the plagiarists emailed him, claiming to be "Flying Omelette". I have no idea how many other websites and/or FAQ authors they may have emailed with their little impersonation scheme, but as a result, I could have taken 100% of the blame when the work was filched without permission.

Also, since some information hadn't been properly verified, it turned out to be rumors or misinterpretations. To recount an example, there was some Gamecube game that had a boss with a really long tongue, and one of the plagiarists submitted this entry saying that the boss's name was "Gene", and was thus a reference to Gene Simmons of the rock band, KISS. A FAQ author wrote to inform me that not only was this information stolen from his FAQ, but the boss wasn't really named Gene, he just called it that as a "joke" because it was otherwise unnamed and he needed to call it something for the FAQ. Other people who had actually played the games in question began emailing me to debunk even more false information.


Demon Child, is that you?

I moved hastily to remove all plagiarized and false material and barred the offending contributors from submitting any more entries. All of the users responsible for this came from one particular NES-themed message board, known for whatever reason as the "NES Scene".

Now, four whole years after I closed the Cameos Database, the "NES Scene" is complaining about having their plagiarized material removed and making (really laughable) threats against the community if it's not restored.

Why would it take them so long to complain and why would they expect I'd knowingly put stolen material back up on my site?

I have no answer to the first part of that question, but I do for the second part:

It's because NES Scene people think plagiarism is A-OKAY!

This is a recent conversation from my forums. Not only does the NES Scenester in question here think plagiarism is okay, he also thinks it's a legitimate way to garner respect.

This is not the first time I've seen the issue of plagiarism arise in the NES Scene. While I spent very little time going to NES-themed boards (I had my own hangouts), the few times I did, I almost ALWAYS saw a post saying something to the effect of:

"When you make a website, make sure you put a copyright notice on every page so that no one can steal your work."

This is not necessary. According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, any original work posted to the internet is automatically copyrighted to its author(s), regardless of whether a copyright notice is placed on the page or not. While some NES Scenesters were under the impression that putting a copyright notice on a page would automatically protect them from thieves, it also appears that the inverse is true: Some Scenesters believe that if there is NO copyright notice, then it's perfectly fine to take it.

Here is another run-in I had with plagiarism and the NES Scene, including one post where I specifically addressed that copyright notice issue. Apparently, even the non-English-speaking sector isn't safe from it.

And here's an article from NES Times about another plagiarism incident. If you want to get the whole story, click "FLIP PAGE" at the end, which I'm mentioning because it's easy to overlook.

The plagiarists in both of these incidents should give you a pretty good idea of the intelligence level we're dealing with here. The funny thing is that these people are too dumb to create anything worthwhile of their own, and yet somehow they're aware that they're too dumb, so they steal other people's work.

The most peculiar thing is that years ago, they openly and rather gleefully admitted on their public (now R.I.P.) message board that they were sending in plagiarized and fake information because they wanted to "watch the fun" when the complaints came rolling in. So, I have no idea why they're trying to save face now and backpedal. If there is some new group of NES Scenesters they're trying to gain respect from, it would make more sense to just not mention the Cameos Database since it's dead and not going to be revived, anyway.


Backpedaling: It gets you nowhere.

Anyway, the NES Scene used to be big, but it's faded into obscurity, so I'm not really too concerned about this. I'm more amused by the facts that (1) people are still bitching about the Cameos Database after all this time and (2) they're still calling Port Saiid "Flying Omelette's Palace", even though it hasn't been called that since 1998 (there's a whole 'nother world of politics involved in why they refuse to call it "Port Saiid", but that's a story for another time).

Comments from the RAU Gallery:
Deuce: Damn, what a week it's been. Plagiarists, scene pranks, whiny 4-year-olds...It's like we're living in 1995 again.
Samantha: Sometimes it feels like we never left 1995.
Honen: I just wish ze pranks could be funny...like ze ones ze Game Pond community pulled back in ze day.
Tomi: You mean like those Hamster-on-Ghaleon pictures we sent to Working Designs and Hamsterdance.com?

Jack: Bah. The 80's were better, if you ask me.
Samantha: Yeah. That was the real Golden Age for cartoons like us.
Deuce: True, but sometimes it was difficult to find work... Most people don't know this, but before we got our own cartoon, we all had to get parts in other shows and movies for acting experience and to make ends meet...
Tomi: Hm. I feel a flashback sequence coming on...


THE RAU GALLERY PRESENTS:
THE 80'S YEARS


(If you'd like to set this to music, click above.)


Try to see it my way,

Do I have to keep on talking till I can't go on?

While you see it your way,

Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.

We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Think of what you're saying.

You can get it wrong and still you think that it's all right.

Think of what I'm saying,

We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.

We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Life is very short, and there's no time
For fussing and fighting, my friend.

I have always thought that it's a crime,
So I will ask you once again.

Try to see it my way,

Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.

While you see it your way

There's a chance that we might fall apart before too long.

We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Life is very short, and there's no time
For fussing and fighting, my friend.

I have always thought that it's a crime,
So I will ask you once again.

Try to see it my way,

Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.

While you see it your way

There's a chance that we might fall apart before too long.

We can work it out,
We can work it out.


Jack: There went the rest of our audience.
Tomi: Okay, that was going way too far.
Samantha: What's the problem? It was a sign of the times.
Tomi: First of all, some of those things aren't even from the 80's.
Samantha: Okay, so? Some of us are still moonlighting. I mean, Kiini's especially been doing quite well for himself in this economic slump.
Tomi: Look, we've done some seriously crazy shit in this series, but that was so utterly fucked-up, it's not even funny.
Jack: But you do have to admit that Bubu the Hutt was a nice touch.
Honen: I kind of liked Dr. Indiana Abirok, myself.
Deuce: Cory makes a mean Jake Blues.
Tomi: What's this have to do with cameos and plagiarism again?
Deuce: Really, Tomes? Every single one of those flashbacks was a cameo. You're starting to sound like Chance.
Tomi: Well, when he's not here, I have to fill the cynicismeter.
Deuce: It's overflowing.
Tomi: I'll shut up now.
Author's Note: It's been pointed out that the topic started on the DHN Forums may, in fact, be a parody of the people at NESplayer's forums and is intended more to be a joke on them than a serious threat on us. But even if that's true, the fact still remains that they were bitching about their stolen material being removed long before that person showed up on DHN.

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