Gravity Lens blogger Jeff Patterson points to this interesting case of how the Web abetted plagiarism and its correction:
Over at retroCRUSH, Robert Berry explains how his story about "The Worst Sex Scenes Ever" was ripped off by the British paper The Daily Star, which attributed the list to a "poll" done by the fictitious mag FILM. That story got picked up by a bunch of other publications and sites.
From Berry's account of an exchange with a Star editor:
On 1/05/04 I spoke with a the News Editor of "The Daily Star" named Kieran Saunders and what he told me takes the cake.
He said, "Well, if it's on the internet it's up for grabs. You can't copyright anything on the internet." I told him that was untrue and he then refused to speak with me further, and said all future communication needed to be sent to their legal contact, Steven Bacon in London. I even tried to call back an hour later to speak with the actual author of the piece, and Saunders answered the phone, stating, "I told you never to call here again, speak to our legal group" before ending the call.
Worth checking out.
Btw, the list at issue here, which I encountered in its fake form, is pretty good. Here's a link to Berry's original.