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A New Frontier... in plagiarism?!


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21 replies to this topic

#1
Xisor

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Have I gone mad? Am I so out of touch? Is it the children who are wrong?

Flipping open the "new" Codex, I had a sense of deja vu. Subtle to begin with, but as I flicked through the pages it grew increasingly profound.

This isn't a new Deathwatch Codex. Not entirely. Of course, it's editions, so some retreading of old ground is to be expected. But I didn't recognise any of that, of this severity, in the other 8th Codices I'd bought.

It's word for word identical. Whole pages at a time. "A brotherhood of heroes" is the same text with the same art. Other bits have a sentence tacked on the end.

Am I wrong to be more than a bit incensed by that?

Edited by Xisor, 14 May 2018 - 08:26 PM.


#2
Moostick

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Since the leaks began before the actual content was known, I kind of accepted that we were a filler codex with little to no effort put into it. There's vague evidence it was done before 2018.

Our book probably took 2 weeks to complete. If they took any more than a month, some people need to be fired.

#3
m_r_parker

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I think you have to take that level of re-use of existing artwork / stories / text descriptions with the rate that they've been putting out the codices since 8th Editions release last year. I noticed it too with the Dark Angels codex, significant sections were lifted straight from the previous codex with little to no update. But with a new codex dropping every 3-4 weeks it's hard to expect a ground-up rewrite.


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#4
wildweasel

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It's not plagarism when it's one own's work. And generally speaking, a new edition of a given work is going to largely be similar to the preceding (wait till you see how textbook editions are done...).

 

And in this specific case - the 7E codex came out late in 7E, when 8E was already well in development, so I would be surprised if there was greater divergence. If anything, it was probably largely written for 8th and just stripped back to 7E.


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#5
Vel'Cona

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And in this specific case - the 7E codex came out late in 7E, when 8E was already well in development, so I would be surprised if there was greater divergence. If anything, it was probably largely written for 8th and just stripped back to 7E.

 

100% this.  In terms of releases our codex was barely cold before 8th edition landed, so IMO there wasn't much need to update it from a background perspective.  Given how much the rules have improved (particularly in terms of Strategems and SIA being spread around far better) I'll take a concession on fluff for the sake of rules.


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#6
ashc

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There are areas in the background I would like to know more about but I'm more than happy to hopefully see more Deathwatch novels from black library that will do a better job than a codex does anyway.
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#7
Ishagu

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The lack of new lore is disappointing but the codex is solid! It's more than we all expected! Lol
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#8
Aothaine

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Couldn't agree with you more Ishagu. This codex is damned cool. Dare I say... Tier 2 or 1. I am still don't think it will dominate games but it will be a contender if your opponent makes any mistakes. You should all be excited and happy!


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#9
Arkaniss

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Could be my memory but I thought there was some new artwork? I admit the old Deathwatch codex didn't see much read time from me, as Vel'Cona said it was at the end of 7th and I didn't even get a chance to use it

 

Edit: in addition to the obviously new Primaris ones!


Edited by Arkaniss, 16 May 2018 - 08:56 AM.

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#10
Xisor

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Hmm, I've chilled out a bit on it, but at the same time I'm still furious. £25 for some data sheets and a couple of bits of art.

I'm not expecting 'new lore' out the wazoo, but also not literal copy-and-pastes. Rephrasing things (look at the War in Heaven through the Necrons Codexes) can really alter the feel of it, whilst still capturing the essentials of it. (And, indeed, can drastically alter the 'facts' - a thing as I've matured that I've started to take as a Good Thing[TM] rather than an outrage. Mostly.)

Still, the vast proportion of the words in the book are, word-for-word, identical to the last Codex.

And, indeed, who's to say if the same author wrote it? If I wrote 7th Ed Codex Bolter & Chainsword, and someone else got paid to write 8th Ed Codex Bolter & Chainsword, but half-inched the vast bulk of the words, I'd be furious.

Worse: if I asked someone to give me a new Codex and they resubmitted the same one, I'd also be furious. (Which, I suppose, is literally what's here, except I also shelled out for both.)

To that same extent, there's fascinating discussion on what I've seen called 'self-plagiarism'. Like Graham McNeill's re-use of the entire scene, word-for-word, from "A Thousand Sons" in "The Outcast Dead". No second perspective on the moment of Magnus' arrival in the Throne Room - literally the exact same passage.

----

Now, I recognise why this might have happened. There's certainly time-pressures on it, and a high volume of releases. But jeez, it's not like they're discounting the costs of it either.

#11
Vel'Cona

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To that same extent, there's fascinating discussion on what I've seen called 'self-plagiarism'. Like Graham McNeill's re-use of the entire scene, word-for-word, from "A Thousand Sons" in "The Outcast Dead". No second perspective on the moment of Magnus' arrival in the Throne Room - literally the exact same passage.

 

I feel that BL authors should be held to a different standard than codex authors, but that's probably a subject for another subforum.  In either case, this isn't just limited to the DW codex.  BA and SM codexes have plenty of copy paste in them and it hasn't raised much of a stink until now . . . I'm curious why this is such an issue for DW when prior cases were "swept under the rug"?  (note that I'm not trying to justify it here, just curious why the special attention for this codex)


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#12
Marshal van Trapp

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To that same extent, there's fascinating discussion on what I've seen called 'self-plagiarism'. Like Graham McNeill's re-use of the entire scene, word-for-word, from "A Thousand Sons" in "The Outcast Dead". No second perspective on the moment of Magnus' arrival in the Throne Room - literally the exact same passage.


I feel that BL authors should be held to a different standard than codex authors, but that's probably a subject for another subforum. In either case, this isn't just limited to the DW codex. BA and SM codexes have plenty of copy paste in them and it hasn't raised much of a stink until now . . . I'm curious why this is such an issue for DW when prior cases were "swept under the rug"? (note that I'm not trying to justify it here, just curious why the special attention for this codex)

I think it's because of how much time existed between the 7th and 8th codecies. You reference SM and BA, the 7th edition codex SM was released June of 2015, almost 3 years ago now but only about 2 years from the 8th codex, blood Angel's is even longer. 7th edition codex BA was released December 2014, a full 3 years before the 8th edition release. Conversely the 7th edition codex deathwatch was released August of 2016, that means it's been (admittedly only 4 months) less than 2 years ago. The ink was barely dry on the 7th edition codex when 8th dropped and I think that's why.

Tl;dr - more time between C:SM and C:BA may have had a part in people not realizing the plagiarism from 7th edition. Something about rose colored glasses...

#13
Spiky Norman

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Not everyone have prior editions of the Deathwatch codex, and would therefore never know or care about if some text from an older edition is used again in this new one. I'm in this group, and I'm fairly sure I'm not the only one.



#14
Xisor

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Yeah, it's not 'some text', like nicking a few good pithy lines. It's the vast bulk of the fluff section.

As for why a stink here and not elsewhere - I've only noticed it here; I've not noticed it elsewhere. I don't recall it being blatant in the Drukhari dex, but I haven't checked it. I've a suspicion I'll be taking my 7th Ed Harlequins Codex along to the store to check (and directly address the issue at point of sale).

@Spiky Norman: granted. But it is customary to re-write the passages, not lift them wholesale. (Though only inviolate bits, edition to edition, tend to be the opening title scroll [It is the 41st Millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth...], the appendices, some specially loved charts [Legions & Successors via the Codex], and even they get a touch up.)

No, even with Codex Space Marines, I'm pretty confident it's not so bad. But I've not opened a copy of Codex Blood Angels, or Dark Angels, for that matter.

#15
Vel'Cona

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As for why a stink here and not elsewhere - I've only noticed it here; I've not noticed it elsewhere. I don't recall it being blatant in the Drukhari dex, but I haven't checked it.

No, even with Codex Space Marines, I'm pretty confident it's not so bad. But I've not opened a copy of Codex Blood Angels, or Dark Angels, for that matter.

 

Speaking from both the DE and BA perspective, there are entire unit entries/background pieces lifted in those codexes, as well.  It's not a problem/feature exclusive to DW, though I will concede that DW is probably the most significant "offender" to date.


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#16
Finkmilkana

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It’s not even new with 8th. If I’m not completely misremembering, the imperial agents codex for example did copy quite a few passages from the old inquisition codex.
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#17
Sloeberjong

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Ever since I remember significant pieces of fluff and unit descriptions have been copied from previous work. From 2nd to 3rd to 4th etc. I got out of it in 5/6th and came back for 8th and I read the same stuff in a lot of places. It's ok though, there has been a lot of changes this edition with Guilliman, the Maledictem Cicatrix (or whatever it's called). But the emperor is still on his throne and all...it's all pretty stagnant so no use in producing new pieces of fluff just because. 



#18
wildweasel

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And, indeed, who's to say if the same author wrote it? If I wrote 7th Ed Codex Bolter & Chainsword, and someone else got paid to write 8th Ed Codex Bolter & Chainsword, but half-inched the vast bulk of the words, I'd be furious.

Worse: if I asked someone to give me a new Codex and they resubmitted the same one, I'd also be furious. (Which, I suppose, is literally what's here, except I also shelled out for both.)


The above might be reasonable if you were submitting freelance work or such with a brief no better defined than “Write a Deathwatch Codex or something” and assuming the same kind of authorial ownership as someone writing a story.

Codices are technical works - even the background sections - owned by the company as a whole. Any writing and design one does is with the understanding it will be used and reused as the company sees fit. And in all likelihood the brief the 8E DW author got was more like “Use the existing material, just add in sections on Primaris and how they were intergrated, and some general updates on the DW in the Dark Imperium.”

#19
Xisor

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See, Wildweasel, I get what you're saying - but that's not diminishing my annoyance, it's compounding it. Large scale corporate laziness is, in my esteem, less tolerable than individual craziness - their resources, afterall, are substantial. (Especially when taking, at face value, for £25 for mostly the same thing twice in two years. [Yes, perhaps they're doing us a favour releasing in 7th rather than keeping it for 8th, but this subforum didn't seem to appreciate the lackadaisical effort put into 7th.])


Vel'cona: again, I can imagine lifts here and there. (Unit entries can f-off for the most part anyway. They've been phoned in for a *very* long time. Though that does remind me I'm annoyed at them too, even if I'd forgotten the grudge, plagiarising them still isn't fine and dandy.)

----

The only instance I recall of this being "perfectly viable" is when 3rd Edition had it's "Codex: Dark Eldar 2nd Edition", and even then.

#20
wildweasel

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Substantial, but still finite. DW had some of the the most recently written Codex back ground, they are putting out a Codex and a half every month on average to try and get everyone up to speed under the new edition of the game (plus nevermind that AOS thing and such). So perhaps a corner was cut - but overall a pretty reasonable one.

And really, you'd have probably gotten a lot more traction with "Disappointed in the lack of new fluff" as your lead instead of "OMG PLAGIARISM" considering that 1. plagiarism doesn't apply here, and 2. is a very serious offense against creators.


Edited by wildweasel, 17 May 2018 - 03:59 PM.


#21
Finkmilkana

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It’s not really lazyness if most customers don’t mind whether it’s the same information rewritten or copied. At that point it’s just a smart business decision to spend resources on something else instead (like actually new content).

Now the numerous editing errors in the codex, that is actually laziness...

Edited by Finkmilkana, 17 May 2018 - 04:31 PM.


#22
Vel'Cona

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I do agree the title is moderately inflammatory but a bit of rhetoric/baiting is something of a status quo for subjective/emotional topics, so I see no need to adjust it.

 

In either case, my honest opinion on the background re-use in C: DW 8th edition is that it's definitely lazy and GW can do better, but with the short turnaround between the editions for this release and the general quality of the rules enclosed (especially the Strategems, Warlord Traits and Relics) I am overall very satisfied with what we got.  I have enough understanding of the background of DW from a myriad of sources to fulfill my needs without the codex waxing philosophical, and the Primaris inclusion may actually be the best usage of the new Marines since they've been introduced.

 

So at the end of the day, C: DW has its hits and its misses, but I feel that we've come out the other end with a solid product and my interest in DW as a faction has been immensely bolstered by the refreshing changes and introductions to this still very young army. :)


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