Release #2-06
April 5, 2006

Jupiter Scientific a Victim of Biggest Case of Plagiarism since the Invention of the Internet

    High school students do it; college students been known to do it; now a professional author has done it: Internet plagiarism, the cutting and pasting of online text into one's own writing.

    The author in question is John Vacca, and the book is The World's 20 Greatest Unsolved Problems. Jupiter Scientific's staff, using a statistical analysis, estimates that about 80% of the 651-page book was stolen from the Internet.

    The book's structure was extracted from Jupiter Scientific's webpage entitled "The Greatest Unsolved Problems in Science." Indeed, 18 out of 20 of the book's main chapter headings were copied verbatim from this site. In addition, almost every phrase or line of this webpage appears somewhere in the book. However, the author did not stop there. About 40 pages of the book were also stolen from Jupiter Scientific's other award-winning webpages.

    Distribution of the book has been terminated. Although Jupiter Scientific was the party most victimized, others also had their intellectual property violated. Vacca, who has authored 42 books, worked for NASA until 1995. However, this did not stop him from plagiarizing the content of NASA's websites.

    Material was also copied and pasted from scientific webpages of universities and research centers, of online scientits and even of a page from the Encyclopedia Britannica. Wherever good scientific content could be found, Vacca used it – nor did it matter whether the copyright symbol appeared on a page. In pilfering the Internet of an estimated 150,000 words, the author showed a blatant disregard for copyright law.

    The stolen material is easy to find using a search engine since it was almost always copied exactly. Now and then, a sentence is rearranged or a word changed.

    In a few instances, references were "faked." Material extracted from a webpage was attributed to another publication in what-appears-to-be an attempt to cover up the plargiarism.

    So there you have it: an easy formula to create a book. Find a webpage with an intriguing subject, turn it into an outline, search the Internet, and plagiarize away.

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