A moral quandary

Urban decay.Image via WikipediaO blogosphere! Help me with this moral quandary!

I have been reading a book which gets into some real detail about urban decay. The book is sold as a factual tale–real people, real places, real incidents–and I am really enjoying it, although only 40 pages in.

I decided to dig further into some of the people mentioned in the introduction and hit the Net. What I discovered left me uneasy.

The first was that I discovered that the book (published last month) has a couple paragraphs which were lifted almost word for word from a Time magazine article from the 1990s. In the case of the Time article, the authors had had to take considerable personal risks to bring the story to the public.

The second was the misrepresentation of certain facts. Events in a time line described as 1988, when they happened (according to the BBC) in 2004, and once again a surprising similarity in the choice of words used in the book and the previously published news stories.

So this book masquerading as fact is actually a work of semi-fiction. But more worrying is the obvious plagiarism the copy-and-paste writing that the Internet makes all to easy. (What we need is ‘copy-paste-and-translate’ services!).

And the question for me is this: the book’s frontispiece asserts the moral rights of the author. But the author has clearly plagiarised people who went off and did real research in dangerous places.

What should I do?

Please vote in the poll and/or comment.

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