3 thoughts on “Spot the fake

  1. Brit

    Reminds me of something interesting I read a while back in an article arguing for evolutionary common descent (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/molgen/):
    In 1941 the author of a chemistry textbook brought suit charging that portions of his textbook had been plagiarized by the author of a competing textbook (Colonial Book Co, Inc. v. Amsco School Publications, Inc., 41 F. Supp.156 (S.D.N.Y. 1941), aff’d 142 F.2d 362 (2nd Cir. 1944)). In 1946 the publisher of a trade directory for the construction industry made similar charges against a competing directory publisher (Sub-Contractors Register, Inc. v McGovern’s Contractors & Builders Manual, Inc. 69 F.Supp. 507, 509 (S.D.N.Y. 1946)). In both cases, mere similarity between the contents of the alleged copies and the originals was not considered compelling evidence of copying. After all, both chemistry textbooks were describing the same body of chemical knowledge (the books were designed to “function similarly”) and both directories listed members of the same industry, so substantial resemblance would be expected even if no copying had occurred. However, in both cases errors present in the “originals” appeared in the alleged copies. The courts judged that it was inconceivable that the same errors could have been made independently by each plaintiff and defendant, and ruled in both cases that copying had occurred. The principle that duplicated errors imply copying is now well established in copyright law. (In recognition of this fact, directory publishers routinely include false entries in their directories to trap potential plagiarizers.)

  2. brian

    If this is applied to Bible publishers (Zondervan, Tyndale, etc) it could really tweak the whole “inerrancy of scripture” thing couldn’t it?

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