Friday, June 26, 2009

Chris Anderson's "Free" raises some integrity issues with reviewers


I generally don’t write reviews of books I haven’t bought and read, but I have to note the furor of Wired editor Chris Anderson’s “Free: The Future of a Radical Price,” due July 7 from Hyperion (ISBN 1401322905). The Virginia Quarterly Review has a blog article by Waldo Jaquith “Chris Anderson’s ‘Free’ contains apparent plagiarism” here. Switched.com shows a passage about “usury” that would appear to be a close paraphrase from definition in Wikipedia. The link is here. That observation raises another question: Should Wikipedia be used as a source for “establishment” published works? Many areas of academia don’t accept it, even for high school term papers.

Of course, the topic of the book is timely, in these days that music businesses, film companies, newspapers and traditional publishing are having to reinvent themselves to deal with "competition" from amateur free content on the Internet, from hyper-efficiency, and, in another direction, piracy. This was a big issue at the Digital Media Conference in northern Virginia June 25, which I reviewed yesterday on my main blog.

Update: Aug. 2

Fareed Zakaria (CNN/GPS) gives a link to a "free" audiocopy of the book here.

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