Friday, October 10, 2008


[Reproduced with permission.]

Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 16:17:30 +0100
Subject: FW: FAO Stefano Isidoro Bianchi
From: Tony Herrington
To: Phil Freeman


Thought you'd be interested in this correspondence. If they get in touch I will let you know. But note this is not the first time Blow Up has lifted content direct from The Wire without credit (let alone compensation).

Italians are unbelievably cavalier when it comes to intellectual property rights. Other peoples' that is.


Tony Herrington
Editor-in-Chief & Publisher

------ Forwarded Message

From: Tony Herrington
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 16:13:47 +0100
To: Blow Up Magazine
Subject: FAO Stefano Isidoro Bianchi

I write from The Wire.

We received the following mail from one of our Italian readers.

Would you care to comment?

I will wait to hear from you.


I have recently noted a very curious analogy among some sentences in the article written by Phil Freeman on Bill Dixon (particularly when he was describing the new record, 17 Musicians in search of a sound: Durfur)in the July number of the WIRE and a review just released by the Italian magazine BLOW-UP and written by Dionisio Capuano. Indeed, the Author of the review were highlighting that the record bears some resemblance to other jazz orchestra masterpieces from decade past (namely Alan Silva\'s Season and JCOA\'s Communications) as Freeman noted and used a very similar expression about the division of the music in subgroups. Moreover, Capuano reported quite entirely the Dixon\'s point of view about the political background of the date but without indicating that the sentences were taken from the Wire article (as he confirmed to me afterward). I have contacted by e-mail the Italian Editor (Stefano Isidoro Bianchi) and the Author who surprisingly whereas they both recognize the analogies (and at least, the Author apologised for them) were not apparently considering the fact worthing of a future errata corrige . I wonder to know your feeling about that because , at least to my unexpert view, this sound quite close like a little case of plagiarism.

1 comment:

Stefano I. Bianchi said...

Mr. Phil Freeman,
my name is Stefano Isidoro Bianchi, I’m 47, I created Blow Up in 1995 and since then I’m the editor and publisher of the magazine.
A couple of weeks ago mr. Tony Harrington sent me an email that an italian reader of The Wire (and Blow Up’s subscriptioner) who lives in London had sent him about a ‘plagiarism’ my contributor Dionisio Capuano had supposedly done with you (and The Wire). I emailed him back the day after, explaining everything; having never seen any other email from mr. Harrington, I’ve thought the problem was to be considered closed because there was no plagiarism at all.
But yesterday a friend of mine sent me a link to this blog. To my great surprise I’ve seen that the same day at the same hour mr. Harrington had written me, he had sent this post to you. As I can suppose, mr. Harrington didn’t see me getting in touch with him, otherwise he should have told you, wouldn’t he? I’m sure he would have.
But the problem is that this post was sent the same day at the same hour he emailed me, and that is an extremely improper and incorrect behaviour. Mr. Harrington should have waited my answer to verify the correctness of the reader’s email before posting in your blog, as journalists usually do before publishing something they don’t know the correctness of (even in Italy we do so). And mr. Harrington used the verb ‘TO LIFT’ referring to Blow Up’s supposed habit; I think he should think a little while before calling someone this way because this is not a word he can use with me and my magazine. If he will show just one time that we have lifted something from The Wire he’ll be right, otherwise he’ll be a ______ (fill in with the word you consider more appropriate, my first habit is never to be rude with anyone in the world).
Me and Blow Up’s contributors, we are professional like you are, and never needed to “lift” anyone, let alone The Wire. In the same way, I suppose, as The Wire has never “lifted” anything from Blow Up or other magazines. And to be honest I have to tell you that I couldn’t say what we could lift from The Wire: mr. Harrington can have the best opinion of his magazine but he should not exaggerate, hybris is a bad counsellor.
The Wire is not the centre of the world. Maybe many years ago UK and US magazines were: no more today - colonies and Empires are no more. We have internet as they have, we email with musicians as they do, we’re in touch with labels and distributors as they are. And we are so arrogant to think we have sufficiently good ears, and sufficiently good intelligence, and sufficiently good fingers to write about music as they do. Maybe they don’t see Blow Up and they don’t know our work because they don’t read italian, but we’ll agree that this is their problem, not ours; I can read italian and english, they can read only english: no one is perfect (neither my english is, as you can see). The many many musicians we’ve interviewed and covered during our existence can testify our work, so I won’t let mr. Harrison use the verb ‘lift’ for Blow Up in the same way as he wouldn’t let anyone use it for The Wire.

The fact is, as I explained in detail emailing to mr. Harrington, that Blow Up’s contributor Dionisio Capuano simply forgot to write the place from where he had taken a sentence he used in his review of the CD “17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur” by Bill Dixon. He had taken it from the interview mr. Dixon gave you and The Wire published. BUT Dionisio Capuano NEVER appropriated of that sentence, never ‘embezzled’ it. He wrote the sentence in QUOTATION MARKS and forgot to write where it was taken from. This means “to lift”? Maybe it means that Dionisio was inaccurate and unkind, not that he “lifted” something from you. If quoting without crediting means “to lift” I’m sure all the journalists in this world have “lifted” something somewhere during their professional life: could mr. Harrington swear it never happened in The Wire? No, be sure he couldn’t.

So, why has he taken for granted an email by an italian reader without verifying its correctness? I can understand he’ve been flattered by the possibility of being ‘plagiarised’, but this can’t justify his behaviour, more than ever because he’s a journalist. Every magazine receives many emails every day; many of them are from readers, and readers, as you know, are common people like everyone is. Mr. Harrington can’t know the relationship that that italian reader has with me and Blow Up, if there have been arguments or if there is some ‘bad blood’ between us. He can’t know.

In my email to mr. Harrington I also attached a file where I collected the many times Dionisio Capuano has quoted something from The Wire and has ALWAYS credited the journalists and the magazine. What else to demonstrate our complete good faith and, this time, a simple oversight? But yet he hasn’t “let know” Phil Freeman of all this, and he has called us “lifters” without knowing anything of what really happened. Not exactly a great journalist’ behaviour.
I’ve also seen that he referred to italians in general as “unbelievable cavalier” etc. Another demonstration of a very fine and intellectual way of thinking of other countries’ people. So, I suppose, of all the italians readers of The Wire too: my congratulations.

Finally, this is the email I sent to mr. Harrington.

Dear Tony
As I see this funny man called [name of the reader] has finally reached you after a long debate he’s had with me and Dionisio about this supposed ‘plagiarism’. I didn’t find his observations worth of being published in an ‘errata corrige’ in my magazine because what he calls a ‘plagiarism’ doesn’t exist at all, as I’ll show you. The following is the complete review Dionisio Capuano wrote and Blow Up published:

Bill Dixon
17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur • CD Aum Fidelity • 13t-56:38
Ritornato alla ribalta insieme all’Exploding Star Orchestra di Bill Mazurek, Dixon conferma di essere un musicista d’un importanza e calatura tali, da potersi affiancare, senza timore di dire castronerie, ad Anthony Braxton, a Cecil Taylor, a Ornette Coleman. Ciò a dispetto della stringatezza della sua discografia e della misura con la quale, negli anni, ha partecipato alle altrui attività (citiamo il titolo forse più famoso: “Conquistador”). Il trombettista è inconfondibile sia per la voce del suo strumento (che è in grado di esplorare in tutte le sue potenzialità espressive e del quale mantiene un controllo di tono e volume perfetto, anche quando usa l’elettronica) sia per l’approccio al lavoro di ensemble. Questa incisione – registrata dal vivo il 20 giugno 2007 al Vision Festival di New York – ne attesta la personale visione orchestrale. Se, come notato, l’assetto e il flusso esecutivo ricorda pietre miliari del jazz orchestrale quali “Seasons” di Alan Silva e “Communications” della JCOA di Mantler, “17 Musicians” esprime una singolarità artistica in un contesto di lavoro sulla partitura e sulla costruzione tematica, d’impianto più europeo che afro-americano. Ma quanto può diventare rigidità accademica (ancora non abbiamo ben capito, ad esempio, se Boustrophedon di Evan Parker ci piace ed eventualmente quanto) nelle partiture di Dixon si scioglie in passaggi orchestrali dove l’interplay è guidato da una melodia ‘implicita’ ed è fluidificato dall’elettronica rapendo l’ascoltatore. La musica si sviluppa per dialoghi in sotto-gruppi e poi rifluisce in una coralità montante. In questo senso, i ventitre minuti di Sinopia, rappresentano l’archetipo espressivo ed il centro di gravità di una ‘creatura musicale’ paragonabile per energia e ‘ascensionalità’ all’“Harmos” della London Jazz Composers Orchestra. Gli otto segmenti compositivi che precedono hanno durata breve, se non brevissima (Contour Two è uno sketch di dieci secondi) ma nella continuità di flusso dell’opera costituiscono i nodi emotivi dell’escalation di tensione. Mentre i quattro ultimi pezzi (Pentimento I, II,III, IV; tutti insieme non raggiungono i quattro minuti), servono a azzerare il brainstorming emozionale e riportare il silenzio, nella coscienza, sull’idea tematica. “Non c’è un messaggio politico esplicito. D’altra parte, se nell’ascoltare la musica e nell’osservare il mio quadro in copertina, si è portati a pensare alla situazione nel Darfur, quanto io volevo fare, senza essere programmaticamente politico, sarà stato raggiunto”. Mentre attribuiamo un (8) tutt’altro che regalato, si freme per l’annunciata nuova session in nonetto che coinvolgerà ben quattro trombettisti: Steve Haynes, Rob Mazurek, Taylor Ho Bynum, Graham Hayes. (8) Dionisio Capuano

So, these are the two ‘plagiarized’ sentences and their translations:

1) “Se, come notato, l’assetto e il flusso esecutivo ricorda pietre miliari del jazz orchestrale quali “Seasons” di Alan Silva e “Communications” della JCOA di Mantler…”
“If, as noted, the assest and the execution flux recall milestones of orchestral jazz like Alan Silva’s “Seasons” and Mantler’s JCOA’s “Communications”…”

2) “La musica si sviluppa per dialoghi in sotto-gruppi e poi rifluisce in una coralità montante.”
“The music develops with dialogues in sub-groups and then flows back in a choral ascending”

1) In the first sentence Dionisio writes “as noted”, so he doesn’t appropriate of the sentence itself, he doesn’t make it a sentence of his. Yes, he should have written “as noted by Phil Freeman in The Wire” and this is his fault, but you see that an Errata Corrige where we would have noted that this “noted” was in The Wire would have sounded a little silly… The important fact is that there is no ‘plagiarism’ at all, seen that Dionisio didn’t appropriate of anything because he didn’t write something pretending that it was out of his head - and this only matters.

2) The second sentence is much more - pardon me - stupid. The description of the ‘sub-groups’ that the reader calls ‘plagiarism’is a description of an exact phisical-technical development of the composition. If you want to talk about it in a syntethical way, there is no way: those are the words and the expressions you have to use.

3) The third sentence is the italian translation of some words Bill told Phil Freeman in the Wire interview; Bill’s words stress the previous sentence, where Capuano expresses his personal feeling that “…the last four tracks (Pentimento I, II,III, IV) help to to diminish the emotional brainstorming and to make silence in the listener’s conscience around the album theme.” As in the first case, Dionisio didn’t appropriate of the words of the interview, but forgot to add “as noted in an interview Bill Dixon gave to the Wire”. Yes, surely he should have, but the fact is that there is no ‘plagiarism’ at all; I think the reader has a very peculiar idea of what ‘plagiarism’ is.

That’s all. You find attached at this mail the pdf of the page where the review appeared and another Word file where I’ve collected a list of sentences Dionisio wrote in reviews and articles, always quoting The Wire. We are very respectful of your work, this time we simply forgot to add a reference, we were wrong and we apologize - but we didn’t appropriate of Freeman words, and this is what matters. I could also add that in many other cases and in every magazine in the world we could find someone writing sentences found maybe in other interviews, in the net, in the press sheets or so, and not in all cases we find the references. The main point is that no one should ever appropriate of someone other’s words, and Dionisio and Blow Up didn’t.

Best regards
Stefano I. Bianchi

This was my email to mr. Harrington. I hope that the problem has been explained and that you see there was no lift of your words. Thank you for your patience.

Best regards
Stefano Isidoro Bianchi