link : http://thestar.com.my/special/online/plagiarism/yucheat.html
Stealing slogans from the Web
By Hooi You Ching
EVERYONE enters a contest with one thing in mind: Winning.
The prize could be some cute souvenir like a photo frame, or some cool communication gadget that flaunts style and substance.
Or if Lady Luck happens to enjoy your company, you could just end up an instant millionaire!
As most contests follow straightforward formats that involve little or no cerebral activity, it is a great way of striking it rich without exerting mind or body.
But as prizes become more sophisticated (read: a RM200,000 cash prize), so too have contest rules. Many contests adopt a slogan-writing slant where participants have to come up with creative ideas, written in a limited number of words.
So, most individuals stay away from such competitions unless the perks are worth the creative effort.
But not anymore.
For people who aren’t saddled by a conscience, the Internet provides a shortcut to success. Need a slogan that screams out "grand prize winner"? No problem. Simply type a couple of keywords and the search engine will do your "creative thinking" for you.
After that, it’s really a matter of making choices, like which are the ones that best describe the flavour and feel of the contest.
No doubt, the free flow of information on the Net has produced a great source of knowledge, but it too has become a fecund field of illegitimate content. Whether it’s a powerful phrase or a poem, a humorous piece or a fanciful 15-word sentence, they are words of wealth in the hands of slogan hunters.
But as contest organisers become more aware of existing loopholes on the Internet, they are able to sniff out "slogan thieves" among participants.
Ironically, the Internet also plays detective, tracking down trails for suspicious entries.
"Entries that are too ‘Hallmarky’ are the usual suspects. In this case, we run these entries through Internet search engines to check for originality," says I.Star business development senior executive Mona Cheah.
I.Star is the new media arm of Star Publications (M) Bhd, and has run quite a number of contests.
The task of verifying original entries through search engines may seem daunting at first, but as Cheah says, all it takes is the first line or sentence of a slogan.
However, despite the vast resources to counter check reproductions robbed from the Net, it’s still a tough job filtering through dubious entries which can run into the thousands.
There have been incidents where such entries have slipped into the hearts of the judges and won.
This, Cheah admits, happens because deciding winners can be such a subjective process that it can be quite impossible to tell if an entry lacks integrity, especially at the time of judging.
Nevertheless, there are general guidelines in the judging process to weed out the winner. Shortlisted entries are further vetted by a committee which then selects a winner based on a vote of consensus.
The panel of judges usually consists of representatives from sponsor companies and the organiser.
Previously, winning slogans were never published in the papers for fear of abusive feedback from unhappy contestants.
However, of late, these slogans have seen print or have been published on the Web, which can create a certain amount of animosity among fellow participants who feel their entries are more deserving.
Cheah contends that slogan-writing contests are less appealing compared to lucky draws because the former requires skill and creativity.
Yet, therein lies the challenge.
Deanesh Nair is a seasoned "slogan-writer." He has entered more than 300 contests over a span of 10 years, all of them slogan-writing contests.
And his winnings? Over RM50,000 worth of cash and prizes! He has achieved an impressive feat of producing 70 winning slogans, all of which "were self-composed, Scout’s honour!"
Indulging your muse
Deanesh, who last year published a book entitled The Winning Touch, about his successful winnings in slogan-writing contests, says that it takes him about two hours to create a 15-word slogan.
Asked what his secret formula was, he says it takes practice and a good command of the language to produce that winning slogan.
Describing the process as fairly easy, he first thinks of an idea relevant to the contest theme. Then, he selects a group of words with similar sounding syllables and mentally juggles them to form a sentence.
It was beginner’s luck for the 31-year-old when he took part in his first ever slogan-writing competition. Although he only won a consolation prize – a Toshiba 14-inch TV and a washing machine – for his entry, that experience spurred him to enter many more contests.
His most memorable prize was an all-expenses paid holiday to Brisbane and Australia’s Gold Coast for two worth RM5,000.
Writing slogans, says Deanesh, is such an enriching process because it’s an activity based on merit, rather than luck.
So based on this premise, any individual who steals someone else’s slogan would be deemed to have committed copyright infringement.
"Judges should be more careful. It is unfair to blame the Internet for encouraging plagiarising when it is actually an issue of morality," he adds.
Christine Fong, manager of the Pan Pacific Hotel’s Club Panorama, believes that only the organising committee should be privy to the winning slogans.
"Publishing winning slogans would only give dishonest individuals an opportunity to recycle them for other contests," she says.
However, in the last contest that she organised, she didn’t feel it necessary to determine the authenticity of the slogans because the lead for the slogan was very specific. For example, hotel guests who spent more than RM800 over a period of seven months were asked to write a slogan on their hotel stay.
Also, the existence of different channels of communication has evolved the way contests are designed.
For web-based contests especially, organisers have come up with more novel contest formats that require greater interactive and surf-time on the part of the participants.
One of them is online travel portal Asiatravelmart.com.
"We have not done any slogan-writing contest before. We usually run online contests that, for instance, require contestants to search for answers on our website," says Asiatravelmart.com senior vice-president of business strategies, Mark Ng.
"Or these winners are determined by total expenditure at our site," he adds.
Ng goes on to say that one should not be too judgmental and let the Internet "take the rap" for promoting plagiarism, as it boils down to a question of honesty being the best policy.
As he sums it up: "It’s all about self-integrity in Internet users."
note : ada saper2 pernah nampak that book by Deanesh tak? teringin nak beli & baca...kena tambah ilmu bab2 comping ni (selain my academic stuff :p)