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Friday, July 19, 2013

The pseudo campus journalist is just silly…

The abundant information available on the web is a blessing of our technological revolution that helped us transform into a better knowledge society. Today, at the tip of your finger you've access to the entire world’s information that once would be with men in the ivory tower.

I write this in relation with my article, ‘In Pursuit of Solitude’, published here http://www.farazsalat.com/2012/12/in-pursuit-of-solitude_9.html, which was copied by a student from JBIMS. The student submitted the article in a competition called ‘Campus  Journos’, which was organized by Philips India.

Interestingly, this student is my school friend; we were in the same school until 2005. And since then I've not met him personally. I accepted his friendship request on Facebook in late 2012, and like hundreds of friends I've on Facebook, I’d chat with him about whatever-I-feel-comfortable. However, he never mentioned that he was in JBIMS, I only knew that he was trying his luck to get through a Business School.

I write on this blog to express myself, my views and to connect with the larger world, those who second my thoughts and those who have a variation. I don’t mind if anyone takes an article from this blog, share it with someone, and give me the credit or mention the link. But I do condemn if you copy and submit it in competitions or make claims that the article belongs to you. The article in question was solely written by me and prior permission from me was required to copy it.

To ascertain as to how many visits I get on my website on a real time basis, I've installed a few blog applications. One fine evening when I was reviewing my blog, I came across a link from where a person jumped on my website. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link. And I discovered that my article is published by Campus Journos. Well, Campus Journos may say they had no knowledge about the article’s plagiarism; however, an act of ignorance is not a sufficient defense. If a man approaches me to sell his products, I’ll first question whether he has the receipt of the purchase. What if he has robbed the product? The law will not excuse me.

I immediately contacted Campus Journos with a notice expressing the infringement of my rights on the article. Yes, the article had his first name and his college. Two points here: there are many people with the same name, I know of 4 people with that name. And that point in time, I didn’t know of any person with that name who studies in JBIMS.

Having sent an email to them, I also exercised my right to express. I resorted to Facebook and Twitter to express my disturbance. Until now, I had no clue that this act was done by a person who I know largely through social media.

Now, having read my comments, this old friend of mine immediately messages me on Facebook, says that he is sorry for his act and requested to remove the comments, updates and tweets. He was apologetic. The fact that he realized he was wrong and apologized, pacified me. 

Campus Journos contacts me in the mean time; they confirmed that the post is removed. That is it. They didn't bother to apologize. The fact that they didn't do their internal check to confirm whether the content they are publishing is original or not is a justifiable reason for my complaining about them in social media.  I still stand with one of my tweets where I said that they are giving a bad name to Philips India. They realized that the article was not original when I brought to their notice. Why didn't they acknowledge their mistake? Should not they have bothered to apologize to me for not doing a check, and publishing my content without my permission?

This student sends a message, and asks me to remove the tweets. I didn't remove them immediately. I don’t have to remove them. I’m entitled for my views, especially when they are truthful. Truth itself is a defense for defamation. Following morning, I removed them only because he requested, and to avoid any repercussion that he may have to bear. There were six tweets that I removed upon his request. These tweets were published before he informed me about his act, and removed only after he apologized. The faculty of intelligence is the most important tool of mankind. It’s our intellect that should help us succeed, and those who resort to copy the inventions or creations of others to take wrongful credit are unarguably intellectually defunct. I stand with all my tweets, even now when I know that the person who I called intellectually defunct studied with me in my school. However, if he has got through JBIMS (which is not a cake walk) solely through his ability (absolute ability and not through reservation or specific quota) then he may be intelligent, undoubtedly, but also silly. 

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Faraz Salat

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Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Admirer of all things that make up a global human society.