Sunday, January 07, 2018

Mashing The Mot Juste

Do you believe that words are "fungible"?  Are all synonyms equal, or are some synonyms more equal than others? In other words, does the "mot juste" exist?

Mot Juste = the exact, appropriate word.  (Plural: mots justes )

As some rely more on AI, and on automated plagiarism, "mot juste" will probably be expunged from Dictionaries. It is not a helpful concept. If there is no word for "the exact, appropriate word", people will cease to think that one word might be more exact and more appropriate than another.  Thoughts cannot exist without words. Vocabulary matters.

There's a rumor that pirate plagiarists are taking popular authors' published works, running these copyrighted works through an app to change the characters' names, place names, verbs and adjectives, and self-publishing the result as "original works" on certain online self-publishing platforms.

The name for such mashing up of words is "synonymize".

Check out this blurb for its logical flaw:

"Our machine is using paraphrasing software to replace words with synonyms to prevent plagiarism, but provides the same meaning of the content..."

No. That is not "prevent(ing) plagiarism". That is enabling and encouraging plagiarism.  It's purpose is not to "prevent plagiarism" but to prevent your plagiarism from being detected.

The plagiarism profiteers give fair warning, "...please note that it's only automatic tool and we cannot guarantee its quality..."

They know the difference between "it's purpose" and "it's only". Kudos for that. They seem to understand that their tool cannot deliver mots justes. However, from their use of English ("it's only automatic tool"), they may not be native English speakers. They hide who they are behind a Denver based privacy protection service.

They appear to offer to help one plagiarize ones own resume. Or ones own university admission letter. Or a document. Or a scientific paper. Why?

Here's an apparently British based rival with no illusions about what they are doing, if one can make such an inference from their "plagiarisma" name.  They are a free "article rewriter".

Some mash up enthusiasts gave the public fair warning on their Kickstarter campaign that mashing up Dr. Seuss Stories with Star Trek characters and imagery might land them in court.
While we firmly believe that our parody, created with love and affection, fully falls within the boundary of fair use, there may be some people who believe that this might be in violation of their intellectual property rights. And we may have to spend time and money proving it to people in black robes.

As David Stewart  legal blogger for Williams + Hughes (an Australian law firm) points out in "'Litigation, Jim, but not as we know it': Dr. Seuss, Star Trek, and Copyright Infringement in the US."     that disclaimer was clear evidence of wilful infringement.

David Stewart cites this helpful reminder to would be for-profit mashers.
The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals noted that “the claim of parody is no defense where the purpose of the similarity is to capitalize on a famous mark’s popularity for the defendant’s own commercial use.” Hard Rock Cafe Licensing Corp. v. Pacific Graphics, Inc., 776 F.Supp. 1454, 1462 (W.D.Wash.1991).”
David Stewart's article is excellent reading, but for the few who want just the bottom line, "wilful infringement", if claimed and proven against the loser defendant, can treble the damages assessed.

Jesse M Brody, legal blogger for Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP  (a very interesting law firm) also discusses same case and the same question of when is a claimed parody not a parody in "Oh The Places Copyright And Trademark Law Go!"

Jesse M. Brody examines the fourth factor of fair use (or not), which is whether the defendant's obvious use of  Dr. Seuss trademarks, font, titles, style, and stories combined with Star Trek characters and images could negatively affect future income for Dr. Seuss, for instance to the market for the licensing of Dr. Seuss's derivative works.

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All the best,

Rowena Cherry

PS.  My apologies for the lateness of this article.

PPS. Here's an example of a not-mot juste.  "That salacious book" that everyone is talking about.
The mot juste would be "scurrilous", as in "That scurrilous book".

A book cannot be "salacious", especially given the cover art of that particular book.  Salacious means lustful, lecherous, appealing to sexual desire.

1 comment:

  1. Mashing The words isn't easy task and you by far mashed the word "Mot Juste" Kudos for that �� �� ��