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 1 year 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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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 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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Gene Chin

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I'd like to chime in on the whole issue of the policy of another user even touching someone else's bylined plot summary, and would like someone at IMDb to address this issue and why it seems so easy to "hijack" someone else's work either by inserting their own byline under text that is still substantially the original author's, or editing someone else's bylined summary so that it is totally unrecognizable from the submission by the original author. I have had both done to my plot summaries in the past, the most egregious one which I just discovered, which still had my byline, with text that I would never have written (in that I didn't consider the the summary of the "editor" a plot summary but rather background on the movie itself). I don't quite understand why anyone would do this rather than just submit their own work under their own byline as a separate summary.

I personally will only make changes to another contributor's plot summary or outline:
  • to correct spelling errors, especially of given names
  • to delete any item within the summary that is a major spoiler or that is totally inaccurate
and never will I insert my own byline in these circumstances (either replacing the byline completely with my own or as I have seen done by others "XX edited by YY" or some such addition).

And only if someone else's plot summary has too many spoilers to render it uneditable without maintaining the integrity of the original author's intention, or if the summary is completely inaccurate will I ask IMDb to delete it altogether. In the latter category, I remember coming across a plot summary for a documentary of a person that while accurate to that person the subject of the movie, had nothing to do with the documentary itself.

Generally I won't even read another contributor's plot summary if I am intending on submitting my own so as not even to unintentionally steal ideas from that other summary.

Again I'd like to hear from someone at IMDb if measures are taken to protect the original work of contributors, and why it seems so easy for someone to make changes to another contributor's work.

And finally, thank you Vincent for your above post about Wayback Machine (I had heard of it but didn't know how to access old webpages).  Just like Nick seems to do, I have kept the reference numbers to many of my plot summary submissions dating back to 2010, but couldn't seem to find the original summary I submitted for the movie with "egregious" edit mentioned above (it however being a movie that I have watched often enough to be able to reconstruct a reasonable facsimile!).
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