In a way, the hoopla over Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan, 19, is testimony to the power of "open source" philosophy. We're not talking about software -- Viswanathan's product was a novel -- and the community is loosely defined as "readers connected with Internet technology." But the result is not unlike what happens when a jointly developed program has a bug: the community points out the error. Usually without such glea and malevolence, however.
In this case, the "error" is alleged similiarities between Viswanathan's novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, and four others of like genre: Can You Keep a Secret?, The Princess Diaries, Second Helpings and Sloppy Firsts. Let's be clear: the plots are reportedly different; the similarities arise in a few scenes, character descriptions.
Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia) must be feeling vindicated. But perhaps he shouldn't be. You see, that wasn't the only high profile case of plagiarism to hit the streets two weeks ago. But there's next to nothing written about the other one. You know. The $7 million contract to a CEO for yet another pithy business book? From the Boston Globe: (tip)…continue reading →