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Plagiarism and Scientific Visualization
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There's a stink being raised about a video used in the new creationist documentary Expelled, with charges of plagiarism. The link has side-by-side screenshots from a video developed in association with Harvard by a company called XVIVO and the video used in the movie. The maker of the video can be seen here, showing it and talking about its creation.

I still don't have a firm grasp of fair use, even though the issue repeatedly came up when I was developing computer-based training in Dallas. And now I'm a graduate student, referring to other researchers' work, often using figures which greatly improve comprehension of the work I'm referring to.

Does anyone out there know of a reliable source of information regarding the use of images in scientific work (or any media, for that matter)? My perception is that the following guidelines are in play:

1) You can ask permission to reproduce an image as-is, including the source along with "reproduced with permission from XXXX"

2) You can create your own version of an image and use it along with "adapted from XXXX"

3) If your own version is different enough, you can claim it as your own creation, with no need to reference the origin of the original.

That third one is the one that seems the most troublesome. In general, I stick to #2, recreating images (such as representations of minicolumns, layers of the neocortex, etc.) and pointing out that the image is an adaptation from a particular source.

I'm interested to see if an actual court case develops, or if the producers of Expelled just re-edit the movie before release to remove the questionable clip.


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