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Contoversial notice in guestbook

 
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Deb
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 10:55 pm    Post subject: Contoversial notice in guestbook Reply with quote

I'm copying a notice that was placed in the guestbbook below, because I'm quite concerned about what has been said. I can assure everyone that any work on this site is either my own original copy or has been submitted by the authors acknowledged.
I am writing to the email address given to ask for more information to be placed here.

Quote:
Comment: It is a great pity to see that this generally very good site is also one of many on the internet presenting plagiarised text on natal aspects. It is taken holus-bolus from Robert Pelletier's Planets in Transit, with expressions slightly altered in vain attempt at disguise, and then given another author's name. Skyscript should delete this section, or explain the source of the text.
Posted: 2003-11-14


If anyone else thinks that they know what this is about, please let me know.
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graelhaven



Joined: 22 Oct 2003
Posts: 82

Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2003 11:48 pm    Post subject: nasty gram from wormtongue Reply with quote

Some People aspire to greatness by martyrdom. The person in question might enjoy being brought public attention by knowingly making slanderous accusations.

You are quite accessable for discussion or comment. if the person in question had anything of value to discuss, they had this forum and your email address to do so.

I would annotate the item in question with the note that all information on your site is your own or submitted with the authors permission, or delete the spurious item altogether.

I believe Robert Pelletier's works are on astrodienst and is probably reachable via their site to discuss such an item if you feel you need to.

just my tuppence. MissB
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Sue



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 945
Location: Australia

Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The book in question is 'Planets in Aspect' (and not 'Planets in Transit', which is by Robert Hand). I had a look at the book and parts of the work by Michael McClain on the website appear to be adapted in some way from this book.
It is not identical or even close to it but there are many phrases which are very close. I think the message in the noticeboard is a bit of an overreaction or exaggeration. I'm not sure you can take responsibility for this because Michael has copyrighted his work and you have to take people at their word under those circumstances. Anyway, it's hard to know the real story behind it. I did notice that he recommends the book on his website, among many others.
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Deb
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your opinions. I was perplexed more than anything because I didnít realise what part of the site was being referred to. When I read it, I thought it was referring to something Iíd written, and Iíve never seen that book, so I just assumed this was nonsense.
Iíve written to the email address given in the post and have invited the poster to comment here if they feel they have a legitimate complaint. Iím willing to adapt or delete but feel that such comments ought to be substantiated. I think there should be some allowance for similarity of phrases on something as basic as aspect meanings through the whole spectrum of planet contacts but Iím not familiar with Pelletierís work so itís hard to know where the line falls.
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LindaR



Joined: 17 Oct 2003
Posts: 89
Location: Australia

Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just catching up with this issue. The whole thing boils down to the value placed on 'one liners' that purport to give insight into meaningful astrology. These 'cookbook' lists are trivia regardless of how the authors might deem them important. They contain nothing but generalisations at best so its little wonder that those who write trivia come up with similar phraseology. Paraphrasing is a second cousin to plagiarism. "Take a Mars Sextile Venus, add a pinch of salt and shake not stir for a recipe for lerve" My advice for what its worth Deb ( as your Australian Mum and fellow Megalomaniac ) delete the item from the guestbook and decide whether you really value having the item on site - if not - take it down too. There is too much good stuff on the site to get into this sort of dispute and frankly my dear, it is nicely set out but not exactly mind blowing. Wink
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Deb
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not material I cling to, it's there mainly for beginners or people wanting inspiration on understanding the meaning of their own natal aspects, (now come on, we all started there did we not?)
It bloody did take ages to format - but I agree, content wise, this sort of stuff is widely available and no real loss. Am still considering whether the criticism is fair and warranted - if it is then I'd rather just delete it than get into the complications of acknowledging one author and partically acknowledging another.
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Tom
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 3483
Location: New Jersey, USA

Posted: Sat Nov 15, 2003 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since none of us invented astrology, virtually everything we write comes from someone else directly or indirectly. We can't help but saying what has been said before. Plagarism is deliberately taking someone else's words and/or ideas and taking credit for them. I haven't seen the "offending" post, but as Sue noted (I don't want to be accused of plagarizing her) the complainer didn't even get the title of the book right. You did the right thing by following up, Deb, now delete it and forget about it.

Note to the person complaining: Plagarism is serious. If you have something to say; say it and cite it clearly. I guarantee appropriate credit will be given and/or the offending sentences deleted.

Tom
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Tom
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Posts: 3483
Location: New Jersey, USA

Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2003 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Following appeared on Noel Tyl's website yesterday:

Quote:
skywatch article on eclipses interesting. it is a great pity to see that this site is also one of many on the internet presenting plagiarised text on natal aspects. It is taken holus-bolus from Robert Pelletier's Planets in Transit, with expressions slightly altered in vain attempt at disguise, and then given another author's name.

Skywatch should delete this section, or explain the source of the text.



THe cuckoo escaped from the clock I guess.

Tom
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Sue



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 945
Location: Australia

Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2003 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least if curious people do a search for 'Skywatch' they might have a little trouble finding it. This person's not very good with names or book titles. Rolling Eyes
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Deb
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2003 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This came today as a private email which is self-explanatory. As you can see, the author gave permission for this to be published:

----------------------------------
Dear Deb

Thank you for your response.

I apologise for a rather impulsive comment on your site, but it really annoys me that such texts can circulate without anyone holding someone to account for plagiarism. I think I have seen these texts by Michael McLain elsewhere on the internet, and this was one too many times... My guess is you and your site is not responsible for writing them - is this true?

[My comment here: I think the latter is pretty apparent. Full credit is given to Michael Mclain with links to his site at astrology-numerology.com where the work was first published. His copyright notice reads: "© Michael McClain 1996-2003. Permission is granted for unlimited noncommercial use. All other rights reserved." Despite the fact that permission for noncommercial reproduction is granted, I nonetheless sought and obtained his written agreement before reproducing his text on this site.]


It is somewhat disillusioning to find such a text when one might have hoped for something new and original.


I would be happy if you posted the following on your site but would prefer
not to be quoted except as 'plagiarism watch'. My main reason for commenting on this was to do a little bit towards ensuring quality information on astrology is available on the internet.


Below I quote excerpts from Pelletier's book 'Planets in Aspect' after which I quote the plagiarised version from Michael McLain's text. Many other examples could be found. My feeling is that they are more common when a trans-Saturnian planet combines with a personal planet. A sentence ending in (RP) indicates it was written by Pelletier; a sentence ending in (MM) indicates it appears under the name Michael McLain on the otherwise excellent skyscript site. It is understandable that this text is available 'free' to internet users.

The following examples show plagiarism which is very easy to recognise. (Or are Michael McLain and Robert Pelletier one and the same person?) Often the plagiarism is more subtle: McLain's text on a particular aspect will make exactly the same points as Pelletier, but in an abbreviated and blander style. So the words are different but the content is not.


Moon conjunct Neptune

The Moon conjunct Neptune shows that you are imaginative, emotional,
sensitive, and sometimes given to daydreaming. Your psychiic ability enables you to respond to outside stimuli that others are unaware of (RP).

The conjunction of the Moon and Neptune shows daydreaming, or at least a highly imaginative and sensitive nature. You have strong psychic abilities that makes you aware of stimuli others fail to detect (MM).

You are inclined to offer assistance to anyone who seems to need help.
However, this may get you into diffficulty, for some people will blame you
if their problems aren't solved (RP).

You're the type who is willing to help anyone. Yet somehow you end up
getting blamed for their failures and rarely get much credit for their
successes (MM).


Moon square Uranus

Your hair-trigger temper literally fires away (RP).
Your hair-trigger temper can fly whenever, even toward those close to you (MM).


Sun conjunct Neptune

It is difficult for you to express yourself with confidence (RP).
Sometimes, it's hard to express yourself with confidence (MM).

You should choose a profession that will provide you with sufficient freedom to use your creative abliities. A nine-to five routine hardly captures your imagination (RP).

You thrive on projects allowing you to express your creativity, and operate by your own clock. A routine schedule or workload is hard for you to maintain (MM).

When you attention is focussed on art, poetry , music or drama, you are
extremely creatiive and inspired (RP).

You function well when your mind is focussed on such subects as art, music or drama and in these you may be inspired (MM).


Sun conjunct Pluto

The conjunction between your Sun and Pluto indicates that you are an
extremist. Your likes and dislikes are intense (RP).

A conjunction of the Sun and Pluto shows you possess the traits of an
extremist in some ways. Your likes and dislikes can be intense (MM).

Because you are especially sensitive to social conditions, you make a great effect to bring about improved conditions (RP).

Often your strong drive is directed at improving social conditions in your
environment (MM).


Sun opposition Pluto

At some point in your life you will undergo great changes and psychological realignment (RP).

This aspect is usually subject to undergo major changes at sometime in life when a psychological realignment occurs (MM).


---------------------------------------------

[A follow-up post:]

Just read the forum, which I didn't think to do before I responded.

One comment struck me - that Robert Pelletier may have recommended this text somewhere. If so, maybe he gave permission for MM to do a 'potted version" of his texts or something. Even if this was so, it would be nice if it was explained to the reader, if only to prevent (over)reactions like mine.
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Deb
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2003 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m not sure where this leaves the matter. There is an acknowledgement that there may have been an overreaction, but also evidence that the phrasing of some passages was inspired by Pelletier's texts. McClain and Pelletier have both been involved with AstroDiesnt and Michael supports their site strongly with his links and references, suggesting that a friendly collaboration may exist between them.

I am going to ask 'plagiarism watch' to refer this matter to Michael McClain and AstroDiesnt or whoever is directly involved and find out the full facts over whether someone’s rights or intellectual property has been infringed. Then hopefully they will be able to agree whether an amendment of deletion is necessary. I'm happy to take the most approriate course of action, I just need to know what it is.
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Deb
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Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Sun Nov 16, 2003 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the reply that was sent to Plagiarism Watch a little eralier:

----------------------------------

I don't doubt that there is integrity in your motives. I have suffered a great deal of plagiarism of my own work ranging from minor plagiarism to very serious plagiarism. It is not something that I take lightly. However, from my own experience of being on the suffering side of it, I'm not sure whether there is a legitimate cause for complaint here or not, in particular because, like you, I don't know if a friendly relationship exists whereby the copyright owner of the text you refer to has said 'use that old work if it helps' - as I have done very many times to other astrologers concerning some of my older writings.

That work was not originated by me or my site. It clearly acknowledges Michael Mclain as the source and contains links to his site. His permission was sought and granted prior to publication. I have acted in good faith and am more than willing to amend the section or delete it entirely if requested to do so by someone who feels that their rights have been infringed. My only hesitation in not doing that immediately is because I don't know the most appropriate course of action to take and I would prefer to act on investigated rather than speculated information.

Since Michael Mclain (and his site at astrology-numerology) is easily accessible, I feel that you should take this matter up with him and at least allow him the opportunity to respond to your criticisms. Or contact the copyright holder. I would be pleased for someone to inform me if anyone is being abused so that I can act accordingly, but I am also sensitive to the fact that unless you have addressed your complaint to the right parties, Michael Mclain may be the one who is being abused here.

I'm aware that you have posted critical remarks about me and my website in various public places, with the suggestion of plagiarism 'with a vain attempt at disguise'. I also understand that you regret any hasty remarks and probably acted impulsively under the belief that I or my site was responsible, so no hard feelings on that matter. But the issue has been raised and is being explored very publicly in the forum on skyscript so I can assure you that there are no underhanded tactics being employed as far as I'm concerned. If you wish to comment in the skyscript forum you may - your identity will be easily protected by use of a pseudonym. I just hope that people don’t jump to hasty conclusions or make unfounded accusations without due recourse to those immediately involved. I agree with your principles and hope this matter gets followed up properly.

I will post a copy of this there and in the forum on Noel Tyl's site to clear up my position in this.
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graelhaven



Joined: 22 Oct 2003
Posts: 82

Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2003 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If astrologers come from the same school of thought, might they not use similar language? do we not all say Aries is a pioneer, Leo valiant, etc... I have Planets in Transit and Planets in Aspect. and if you read RH translations and RP translations on Astro.com, you would I hope, not be surprised that they give similar advice and thoughts. (at least they seem so to me)

I would hope one did not misconstrue good translation with plagerism.

if we all use the same tables of dignity's and debilities, the same ancient texts, etc... would we not TEND to speak the same language and use similar analogies? To suggest plagerism, it seems to me you must be exceedingly exact when it comes to discussing such an ancient and well written subject as Astrology.

okay, just another 2 cents worth... probably worth what you paid for it. Smile

by the way, anything I say can and will be used against me at some point or another... Wink

MissB
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