Sad And Strange, Wired’s EIC Accused Of Plagiarism

- - Ethics

Over the course of reading Chris Anderson’s new book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price” for a review, The Virginia Quarterly Review discovers passages lifted from Wikipedia (here). The real irony here is that you wouldn’t be allowed to write for Wired if you ever used Wikipedia as a primary source.


There Are 8 Comments On This Article.

      • @Debra Weiss,
        Actually the more I read, the more I believe Chris.

        Here’s more in the LA Times:

        The thing that convinced me was:
        “Jaquith had found several passages in the book that appeared to closely match Wikipedia entries without crediting the online encyclopedia as the source. Anderson e-mailed right back. ”

        It sounds like he realized immediately what the error was, admitted it within minutes, and is correcting the digital versions. His reply to the accusations came before the story broke, and makes sense. Someone so high-profile and so attuned to the digital medium would never try to get away with plagiarism.

        Its like a family values senator trying to get away with adultery… oh wait, bad example.


    Do I have to cite sources for every fact I use?

    No. You do not have to cite sources for facts that are not the result of unique individual research. Facts that are readily available from numerous sources and generally known to the public are considered “common knowledge,” and are not protected by copyright laws. You can use these facts liberally in your paper without citing authors.

    • Sergey Molotov


      well if you’re serious about what you write you should indeed cite your sources.

      if all a journalist does is ripping data from wikipedia he may well just link the wikipedia article instead of writing his own rants.

  2. Common knowledge and general information, encyclopedias, don’t have to be cited. If you take the view that an encyclopedia isn’t common knowledge, yes, you’re right, he ripped stuff off. But that’s not the case . . .

    Also, he should have given credit. I agree. It’s no big deal. But he didn’t have to . . .

    If I can find the same information in several sources, that information is common knowledge. I looked up one of the passages he supposedly stole. Saw it in a host of places.