This month in the news, we find Yahoo, the publication Biosystems Engineering, WND, Maneesh Sharma’s latest film, US-Israeli author Naomi Ragen and artist Dani King Heriyanto all on the end of plagiarism charges. As if that’s not enough, Lenore Hart has been accused of lifting material from a book on Edgar Allan Poe. Enjoy.

Internet giant Yahoo! has been sued by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) for violating copyright laws. The publisher of the local daily Straits Times and other daily newspapers, SPH has said it will fight tooth-and-nail the counter-claim filed by the U.S. company’s Southeast Asia operations earlier this month. The local unit of Yahoo! has claimed that SPH has instead violated its copyright (Source: Singapore Government News, December 29, 2011).

Retraction Watch reports that the January 2012 issue of Biosystems Engineering has retracted the article “Advanced techniques for Weed and crop identification for site specific Weed management,” because the paper had been “constructed, in substantial part, by verbatim copying of paragraphs etc. from papers that had already been published in scientific journals” (Source: Retraction Watch, December 28, 2011).

ConWebBlog reports that a Dec. 19 WorldNetDaily (WND) article which purports to depict how “A school named for Barack Obama in Kenya has abandoned hope that the U.S. president will honor a pledge he made as senator to finance it” was plagiarised. WND’s Jerome Corsi attributes the reporting to “a report in Kenya commissioned by WND,” compiled by “a former Kenyan Parliament member with whom WND has worked confidentially since 2008.” Corsi added, “The research was assigned to trusted Kenyan professionals who conducted the field work and reported their findings in writing.” But Corsi’s “researchers” are anonymous, meaning that there is no way to independently verify what they report. Loren Collins at Barackryphal found that large parts of the report are taken directly — and, in many cases, nearly word-for-word — from two previous articles, a 2008 article in the London Evening Standard and a May 2011 AFP article. Collins concludes: “In short, every single quote or finding specifically attributed to Corsi’s unnamed ‘researchers’ was lifted from an earlier publication by another news agency.” (Source: ConWebBlog, December 22, 2011)

Bart Simpson plagiarism

The Hindustan Times (December 13, 2011) reports that “Director Selva of Naan Avan Illai fame is in a state of shock! According to him, some of the scenes in the movie Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, directed by Maneesh Sharma, have been copied from his Tamil movies Naan Avan Illai 1&2.” “I was shocked to see that a few scenes in this Hindi movie, which has just hit screens, were actually similar to the ones in my movies,” reads the report.

The Associated Press (December 12, 2011) reports that US-Israeli author Naomi Ragen has been found guilty of plagiarism. A Jerusalem Court has ruled that Ragen, one of Israel’s best-selling novelists, is guilty of plagiarizing material from a fellow author Sarah Shapiro. According to the ruling, Regev copied material from Shapiro’s “Growing with my Children” and used it in her book, “Sotah.”

The Korea Herald (December 9, 2011) reports that South Korean artist Kwon Kyung-yup was recently shocked to find out that works very similar to hers were on sale in Singapore. A foreigner who came across an Indonesian artist’s solo exhibition in August at Art Front Gallery in Singapore sent an e-mail to Kwon to fill her in on the news. In the show, Indonesian artist Dani King Heriyanto‘s 2011 painting “Bandage” featured a girl wearing a hoodie and a bandage over her eye just like Kwon’s 2009 work “Adios.” Heriyanto’s 2011 work “Rise up” also showed a girl with a bandage wrapped around her face just as the girl in Kwon’s 2009 painting “Oblivion”. Heriyanto responded by saying that the work is a ‘parody’.

Julie Bosman reports in the New York Times Blogs (Media Decoder, December 8, 2011) that St. Martin’s Press is defending one of its authors accused of lifting material for a book on Edgar Allan Poe, though critics say there are obvious similarities. St. Martin’s Press has defended Lenore Hart against charges of literary fraud in the writing of her novel, “The Raven’s Bride,” released earlier this year. The book contains passages that are markedly similar to those in “The Very Young Mrs. Poe,” a 1956 novel by Cothburn O’Neal, who died in 2001. Both novels are centered on Virginia Clemm, the first cousin and child bride of Edgar Allan Poe who inspired the poem “Annabel Lee.”