Plagiarism, Byline Replacement, and Other Tales of Ignoble Accomplishments

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Hello,

Today, I accidentally discovered that a member had replaced the byline of my plot summary for [link=tt3470600] with his own.

This is the reference number of the deletion request: #190413-081723-076000

Sadly, other than my word and the creation date of the original plot (7/13/2017 – 10:38 AM), I seem unable to prove that this flawed plot is truly mine.

This is the reference number of the resubmitted plot: #190413-083516-108000

Honestly, is it so easy to replace one’s byline with his own?


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Nick Riganas

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Posted 4 months ago

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Vincent Fournols

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You can always rely on the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/*/imdb.com

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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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Bylines are only replaced if a substantial rewrite has been done and the IMDb editors approve the change. So it is not easy.
(Edited)
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Nick Riganas

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That sounds logical; however, in my case, the member used my plot verbatim and substituted the byline with his.

In addition, judging from his profile (probably a new user), I suspect that changing bylines is, indeed, quite an easy task.

Please check this similar case: (https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/plagiarized-plot-summary

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Eboy

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Nick, do you mean Plot Summary, or Plot Outline? The latter is the shorter one that shows when you click the title page (IF Plot Outline is missing, Plot Summary is showing instead).


I believe ”Sing” now has 4 different Plot Summaries:

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt3470600/pl...
(Edited)
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Nick Riganas

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Hello Eboy,

Someone replaced the byline in my plot summary with his name, resulting in crediting it to his total plot summaries contributions.

The first plot you see by "Kenneth Chisholm", is the plot outline.

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Elizabeth, Employee

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Hi Nick,

Thanks for reaching out, the plot has been reset back to your name, please let us know if you encounter this again in the future. 
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Nick Riganas

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Hi Elizabeth,

Thank you very much for looking into this issue. As Peter suggested, I, too, wish no one could replace other people's bylines. Perhaps IMDb could implement this idea in the future.


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Peter, Champion

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Suggestion: do not under any circumstances allow a user to edit someone else's byline.
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Nick Riganas

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Hi Peter,

Thank you very much for your input. My thoughts exactly!

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Marco

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Suggestion: do not under any circumstances allow a user to edit someone else's byline.

I sure hope a staffer will respond to this. I can't think of a reason why it should be able to edit someone else's byline.
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Nick Riganas

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Hi Marco,

The only reason one replaces a byline with his own is to claim ownership of someone else's plot summary/outline.

However, as this thread is marked as "solved", I wouldn't build my hopes up.
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Jeorj Euler

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Often bylines are changed to include both the names/nicknames of the original attribution and whoever made editions to the biography/plot.
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Nick Riganas

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Hi Jeorj!

I didn't know that! I have never come across a "double" byline.

Still, I wouldn't want to take credit just for editing a summary. In my humble opinion, providing a comprehensible, concise, and spoiler-free plot is far more difficult than simply editing it.
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Vincent Fournols

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Hi,

Another use case: the summary a lot of French movies nowadays are entered by good will contributors or even distributors. But the English used, very often word for word translations of public pitches, reaches an embarrassing level, and sometimes beyond understanding.

IMDb refused to intrude (I proposed to have one of the submitter contacted, in order to work with him), I tried to edit a couple of them in the beginning and I have eventually let go.

So when editing such summaries, I asked my self whether I should keep the byline, add mine or erase it, as it is just a very badly translation of a public pitch. I have not reached an answer!
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Peter, Champion

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"Often bylines are changed to include both the names/nicknames of the original attribution and whoever made editions to the biography/plot."

Sometimes yes, but I believe it is discouraged.

"IMPORTANT - corrections and By: lines Bylines are important to the original author and other users. If you make corrections (spelling, grammar, etc) to a Plot Summary, please DO NOT change the byline. . If you disagree with the plot summary and want to substantively change it, please submit a new one with your own byline rather than edit the original and add your own name to it."
https://help.imdb.com/article/contrib...
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Nick Riganas

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@Vincent
Hi Vincent,

I am aware of this troublesome case. I followed your very informative thread back then. I think coaching one against such behaviour, and pointing to the right direction is the best policy.

@Peter
Hi Peter,

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is by far the best proof that bylines should be left untouched.

Do you think I should start an "idea" thread proposing to disable the ability to edit bylines?
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Peter, Champion

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Sure, why not.
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Eboy

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I guess one reason would be bad grammar. Another could be if the outline/synopsis includes spoilers. Some people don’t fully understand what a ”spoiler” mean.

I mean it’s not that only ”great” outlines/synopsis are accepted. But if it ain’t broke, there’s no reason to fix it.
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Nick Riganas

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I see what you mean, and others may agree with you; however, my point of view differs a little.

I have encountered and edited numerous plots of less experienced fellow IMDb members; nevertheless, not once did I substitute their names with mine. It is wrong and dangerous, as the plot summaries' section can easily become an endless battlefield.

No one wants an edit war.
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Eboy

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Sure, substituting a name is a big no-no. I guess it didn’t occurred to me that people would even do that.

I’m basically talking about cases like Mayans M.C., where (at some point) the short plot outline basically revealed the ending of Sons of Anarchy. Like all people in the world who click the title page of Mayans have seen SoA.
(Edited)
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Nick Riganas

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I know. Spoilers can be so annoying!

I've been thinking of starting a new thread proposing this idea. Perhaps I will do it in the following days.

In the meantime, keep up the good work!
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Vincent Fournols

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Despite this topic is tagged as "Solved", I seek the feedback of fellow contributors, with another pratical use case:

After seeing the film tonight, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044328/plotsummary needs some cosmeting editing, which would amount to this (in bold)

André Noblet, a 23-year-old French artist falls madly in love with Christiane, the mother of two children. He tells Chistiane he will tell all to her husband and demand her freedom. Christiane learns that her husband has been carrying on a romance of his own and they have a meeting. By the time André shows up, they have reconciled. He next moves on to Minouche, a divorcée, and takes her to a ski resort, where he breaks his leg on the very first day and this hampers his love making. They meet another couple, Evelyne and her aged escort, Gaston Lebridel, and the couples end up exchanging partners. Time passes and André has now cultivated an attachment with Denise Aubusson, a widow and patron of the arts and artists, and André soon replaces a musician in her life. Denise has in her employ, Alice, a reformed thief, who reveals to Andre that Denise is a whole lot more than slightly older than he is. André is now an unattached man and when he learns that 17-year-old Catherine Michaud, a neighbor's daughter whom he has always consider a child, has decided to elope, he goes after her, determined to save her from an unwise marriage, and ends up marrying her.
What do you think should be the fairest byline: keep it as it is, or add mine to it ?

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Peter, Champion

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I would keep it as it is.

By the way, I was thinking earlier about previous discussions on this issue, and I think I recall from the Contributors Help board that Les Adams complained about having his byline changed.
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Nick Riganas

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I, too, would leave the byline untouched.

Vincent, if it helps, think of it as the ultimate expression of selfless contribution.

For instance, a regular blood donor always donates blood anonymously.

However, in this case, you could write a plot outline which the title currently lacks. But, hurry up or I will get there first! (If I knew how I would add an emoticon now...)
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Vincent Fournols

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Go ahead, Nick, "Make my day" :)

I really do not care whether my name appears or not, I was mostly refering to that use case for rule sake. And I agree with Peter, since that input would not change the substance of what that contributor wrote.
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Adrian, Champion

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Vincent,

You should reference to plot guide. It's a big no-no to change the byline for grammatical mistakes (or in this case odd translations).

See here: https://help.imdb.com/article/contribution/titles/plots/G56STCKTK7ESG7CP#

Specifically:

  • IMPORTANT - corrections and By: lines Bylines are important to the original author and other users. If you make corrections (spelling, grammar, etc) to a Plot Summary, please DO NOT change the byline. If you disagree with the plot summary and want to substantively change it, please submit a new one with your own byline rather than edit the original and add your own name to it.

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Nick Riganas

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Adrian,

Thank you very much for your help!   : )