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Home > Debates Last Updated: 14:31 03/09/2007
Debate: Comment (June 11, 2002)

Final Comments on Dore Rejoinder

Shumpei KUMON (Executive Director, GLOCOM)

Dear Dore-sensei,

I thoroughly agree with you with respect to the two points you raised regarding bookstore browsing and student conduct. Let me add just a couple of footnotes.

I have to wear bifocal glasses to read, and books in bookstores are placed on shelves at a distance from readers that is inconveniently mid-range. It is far easier for me to browse online because I can change font sizes quickly and flexibly. I usually ignore the advertisements thrown at me. What horrifies me is the real possibility that publishers might not allow me to photocopy the books I buy so that I can read them in larger font size. Perhaps the most desirable situation is to have both bound and digital editions so that I may read and feel them simultaneously.

It is certainly better to be able to trust students, and I believe that we can. When I entered Tokyo University's Komaba campus some 50 years ago it was very common for students to skip classes, cheat on exams, or answer roll call for their friends. We must make it clear to students that plagiarism is immoral and illegal. It may also help, though, to remind them that search engine technology progress will someday make it practically impossible to quote improperly or copy un-cited text from another source without being noticed. I am also tempted to add that intellectual creation usually does not consist of one individual's lonely operation. Rather, it is the collaborative work, be it conscious or not, of a large number of people. Although I have no objection to copyright laws in general, I question the appropriateness of individualizing and monopolizing the copyright of products of essentially group actions.

Best wishes,

Shumpei Kumon

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