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Callie
April 24th, 2010, 05:19 AM
The information which the student rattles off is lifted word-for-word from Wikipediaís page on Shorís Algorithm. Now admittedly the student does look down and consult notes partway through his speech and Iím sure that both MGM and the episode writer will claim that we were meant to believe that he had lifted the text from Wikipedia (although I assumed that it was the actor who had had to be given the notes because he couldnít memorise the entire speech), but thatís the worst case of plagiarism Iíve ever seen!

Now admittedly not many people were likely to find what had been done, but I found the text on Wikipedia because I was doing research while writing the transcript. While googling "Shaw's Algorithm" initially and not finding anything helpful, I tried "Shore's Algorithm" and was directed to pages with the correct spelling. I went into the Wikipedia page in the hope that, as the student babbled off his dialogue, it would help me follow what he was saying, but I ended up half hysterical with laughter as he literally narrated the entry with only a few words missing from the sentences!

I wonder if Wikipedia will sue?! More to the point, are they able to sue and does this count as plagiarism?

Rykel
April 24th, 2010, 05:42 AM
I think you're overlooking the fact they could have contacted Wikipedia before they used it? I highly doubt they went on Wikipedia and copied it and claimed it as they wrote it. Either way I don't think they can be sued by Wikimedia as in there terms of use it says "You can re-use content from Wikimedia projects freely" of course I don't really understand that legal mobojumbo all too well so there could be stuff there. Either way, I kinda like that they did it for the student because it is an issue in schools.

General Jumper One
April 24th, 2010, 06:16 AM
Since it is an algorithm for I think anyone can use it because it would be useless if no one could.

escyos
April 24th, 2010, 06:16 AM
wikipedia is edited by anyone...they dont own anything....end of discussion

Mike.
April 24th, 2010, 07:22 AM
First of all it was an extremely small quote that surely is covered by Fair Use (no matter what MAFIAA tells you).
Secondly it was about a general fact, you can't copyright the size of the Earth for example.
Third, all content on wikipedia is added freely by the users for they benefit of mankind. They can't sue for something they don't own. For example if someone would vandalize someone else's biographical page, Wikipedia couldn't be sued under libel laws because the content was added by a user. Like the Safe Harbor provisions in the DMCA.
Forth, wikipedia has a very permissive license. Last time I checked it was Creative Commons. All it requires is a mention of the source, buried somewhere in the credits. In SGU's case even this wouldn't be needed as it's a very small quote (fair use) and general knowledge.

Disclaimer: IANAL (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/IANAL)

About the use in the show:

This makes me happy, the writers actually researched the topic instead of making up some technobabble. The fact that the answer came from a student makes it that much more authentic, as they are are the most likely people to lift content from there and use it verbatim.

Besides, the fact that a student used an encyclopedia to provide an answer in his class makes perfect sense - that's what encyclopedias are for, to spread knowledge. Also, there's nothing wrong with a student quoting it from memory, that was probably his source when he studied it. There are only so many ways to reword something and since this was a school assignment he memorized it.

If you asked me a similar question I'd also give you a more or less exact answer - from what I read in the course materials.

Wayston
April 24th, 2010, 07:23 AM
wikipedia uses very liberal copyright licenses, basically anyone has the right to use most content on wikipedia as long as the information remains free

also copyright does not give any rights to the underlying reality, only to your artistic construction; basic mathematics and such are not covered at all; one could argue that the text featured on the show is just a basic explanation of this mathematical figure without any original, independent input from its creator and therefor not covered at all

thekillman
April 24th, 2010, 07:53 AM
nice find actually. :D looks like the writers use wikipedia too

exscape
April 24th, 2010, 08:57 AM
[QUOTE=Mike.;11444515]
About the use in the show:

This makes me happy, the writers actually researched the topic instead of making up some technobabble. The fact that the answer came from a student makes it that much more authentic, as they are are the most likely people to lift content from there and use it verbatim.
/QUOTE]
Agreed. :)
As a computer science geek, I found it nice to have some actual facts (well, facts I know about) in the show.

That and 42, but they semi-ruined that by adding the source of the joke.

Phenomenological
April 24th, 2010, 11:34 AM
But the student was created by Rush's mind, unless he actually taught them a class based on decoding a complicated ancient algorithm and was remembering it, which doesn't seem likely. It's possible he did it to try to get them to help with the power calculations for the Icarus gate but not likely.

That would imply Rush memorised the wikipedia definition. He doesn't strike me as the wikipedia type.

Fridgefiend
April 24th, 2010, 11:46 AM
But the student was created by Rush's mind, unless he actually taught them a class based on decoding a complicated ancient algorithm and was remembering it, which doesn't seem likely. It's possible he did it to try to get them to help with the power calculations for the Icarus gate but not likely.

That would imply Rush memorised the wikipedia definition. He doesn't strike me as the wikipedia type.

The wikipedia information is most likely taken from a textbook of some kind. Seems likely Rush would know it in that kind of form being a professor and stuff.

And like someone said above there's only so many ways you can restate information.

Callie
April 24th, 2010, 11:55 AM
It's interesting to know - I asked because I didn't know whether material on Wikipedia was copyright or not. It just struck me as funny that it was quoted so very exactly.

Thanks for the responses!

Starsaber
April 24th, 2010, 12:14 PM
That would imply Rush memorised the wikipedia definition. He doesn't strike me as the wikipedia type.

We don't know how much of that was his subconscious, and how much was his actual memory. Maybe when it actually happened, the student had printed out the Wikipedia page.

flipper_gv
April 24th, 2010, 12:33 PM
You cannot be accused of plagiarism on wikipedia since there is no copyright on anything.

Phenom
April 26th, 2010, 05:48 AM
Why would you be a writer for a Stargate show? For years they get bagged about making up tech stuff and not doing any research, so when they actually do some pretty decent research what happens??? A thread bagging them for lifting facts from the internet. Are you guys serious? I would much rather this than just making crap up that has no plausible place in any logical scientific conversation.

Lord Hurin
April 26th, 2010, 02:20 PM
Why would you be a writer for a Stargate show? For years they get bagged about making up tech stuff and not doing any research, so when they actually do some pretty decent research what happens??? A thread bagging them for lifting facts from the internet. Are you guys serious? I would much rather this than just making crap up that has no plausible place in any logical scientific conversation.

Green.

This is exactly how I feel. After years of people whining about inaccuracies/ impossibilities, now that the facts are right some still complain. They're not actual scientists, you know...

carmencatalina
April 26th, 2010, 02:22 PM
For all we know, Rush wrote that Wiki entry, based on his lecture notes on the subject, and the student just memorized the lecture notes.

Why not?

AVFan
April 26th, 2010, 03:41 PM
Why would you be a writer for a Stargate show? For years they get bagged about making up tech stuff and not doing any research, so when they actually do some pretty decent research what happens??? A thread bagging them for lifting facts from the internet. Are you guys serious? I would much rather this than just making crap up that has no plausible place in any logical scientific conversation.

Decent research? The number one thing professors tell you in English classes these days is "DON'T USE WIKIPEDIA". Since anyone can edit it, it's not reliable.

That's not to say that I don't use it on a daily basis (:D), but I would find a more reputable source to quote if I were taking something word-for-word to write a TV show.

That is, unless the specific point is that the student used Wikipedia to look up the information. It sounds plausible enough, and the only reason Rush knows about it is because that student quoted the information back to him in RL.

Or, a third option.. Maybe the Wikipedia entry was changed by a SG fan after this episode aired? So it was Wikipedia copying SG, not the other way around.

Just my $0.02.

Lord Hurin
April 27th, 2010, 09:10 AM
For all we know, Rush wrote that Wiki entry, based on his lecture notes on the subject, and the student just memorized the lecture notes.

Why not?

True, just because anyone can edit Wikipedia doesn't mean everyone does. It also doesn't mean that many articles aren't started by people "in the know" about whatever it is they're writing. I've noticed far more correct things on Wikipedia than incorrect ones.

Phenomenological
April 27th, 2010, 10:37 AM
Wikipedia is a pretty damn good resource. I'm not saying you should base an entire essay for an important university project on it and nothing else, but if you want to learn about something quickly it's a fantastic site. And far more accurate than people give it credit for.

carmencatalina
April 27th, 2010, 11:03 AM
It also doesn't mean that many articles aren't started by people "in the know" about whatever it is they're writing. I've noticed far more correct things on Wikipedia than incorrect ones.

In my own field, we often go in and correct Wiki articles and add to them (always adding good footnotes and references), in the hopes of increasing the "signal to noise" ratio of the sciences. You will find that many people in science do some Wiki posting/correcting, basically as a public service.

jelgate
April 27th, 2010, 11:46 AM
While I would never use Wikipedia as a source its been shown that the more complicated of science tend to be right on wiki. Because the its hard to fake thoose things because less people know what they mean

Lahela
April 27th, 2010, 10:35 PM
My husband the quantum cryptography physicist assures me the Shor's Algorithm bit quoted in the show was accurate.

g.o.d
April 27th, 2010, 10:38 PM
who cares? I didn't understand a thing . Math is one of my worst enemies :)

Wayston
April 29th, 2010, 11:56 PM
who cares? I didn't understand a thing . Math is one of my worst enemies :)

really, even worse than atheists and evolutionists?

Col. Matarrese
May 2nd, 2010, 12:34 AM
Decent research? The number one thing professors tell you in English classes these days is "DON'T USE WIKIPEDIA". Since anyone can edit it, it's not reliable.

That's not to say that I don't use it on a daily basis (:D), but I would find a more reputable source to quote if I were taking something word-for-word to write a TV show.

That is, unless the specific point is that the student used Wikipedia to look up the information. It sounds plausible enough, and the only reason Rush knows about it is because that student quoted the information back to him in RL.

Or, a third option.. Maybe the Wikipedia entry was changed by a SG fan after this episode aired? So it was Wikipedia copying SG, not the other way around.

Just my $0.02.
Sorry, had to chime in on this one.

Just because your English professor says something doesn't make it intelligent...anyone who's been to college can tell you that. If references are cited and link to valid sources of information (as a good Wikipedia article does), there's no reason not to use Wikipedia as a source of information. All the articles really do is condense the vast amounts of information contained in technical and scientific journals down to a form readable by a common person and not someone with an advanced degree in the field.

*Most* of the fear of Wikipedia comes from old style scholars afraid of change. Really, if you actually look for citations, Wikipedia is just as accurate as any other scholarly source of information.

Remember, just because everyone *can* doesn't mean everyone *will*.

And to be fair, several of my professors right now will indeed correct an error if they see it just as a little gift to the average reader for taking the time to look up the subject.

Otarush
May 4th, 2010, 10:02 AM
I love Wikipedia for general knowledge types of stuff- I look up computer science stuff for fun on there, actually. Nothing wrong with it except it's not detailed enough for some things and it's good to have more than one source. I need to go look up Shor's algorithm now: I'm intrigued XD.