The recent thread about plagiarism on Wikipedia reminded me of something. Back in the early 90's, I went on one of those packaged tours of Italy, the ones where a bus takes you through all the major cities and tourist destinations, you stay in cheap hotels, and the food is absolutely appalling.
But at least I got to see everything, and take lots of nice photos. One of the stops was San Marino, a "microstate" landlocked in the middle of the Italian peninsula, about 100 miles south of Venice.
San Marino was especially interesting, because at the time, it was one of the world's largest distribution points for bootleg audio CD's. Bootlegs manufactured there, as well as in other countries, would arrive in San Marino's shops and warehouses, where they would then be sold via mail-order and other means to buyers all over the world. At one point, San Marino was considered the worst music piracy offender in all of Europe. This only ended in 1996-97, after the discovery of thousands of bootleg copies of Elton John's Candle in the Wind
single - since proceeds for authorized copies were being given to charity, this created a bit of a PR stink for the San Marino government, who finally agreed to abide by WIPO and the Berne Accord, and shut down the bootleggers. They actually did, for the most part, though some claim that the business merely "went underground."
However, Wikipedia's article on San Marino mentions none of this.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_MarinoSurely it's in the sub-page on San Marino's history,
I thought, but apparently not:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_San_Marino
San Marino isn't mentioned anywhere in the otherwise-fairly-complete article on Bootleg recordings, either:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootleg_recording
"Surely this is an oversight," I thought, so I checked the history of all three articles, somewhat thoroughly if I may say so myself. Nada.
Nothing about bootlegging was ever submitted for inclusion in the San Marino articles, and nothing about San Marino was ever submitted to the bootleg article.
A Google search on "San Marino" +bootleg +CD came back with a substantial number of hits, though (40,000, though obviously those numbers are highly
approximate). Most of them are discography pages for bands who have been bootlegged, but this is one of the better (and more concise) explanations of what happened in 1996:http://www.grayzone.com/1297.htm#sanmarino
Meanwhile, one of the major bootleg labels based in San Marino, Kiss the Stone Records, has its own Wikipedia article:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_The_Stone_Records
However, this article claims that KTS was based "in Italy," which is only true in the geographical sense. More details on this are available on this page:http://www.bmr.org/html/submissions/submission20.html
In effect, if one is to believe Wikipedia, San Marino never had anything to do with international music bootlegging at all. One could be charitable about it and simply describe it as an error of omission, but after seeing what happened with the evidence of plagiarism that was brought to light on Oct. 22, it wouldn't surprise me at all if edits of this nature were
made, and rather than simply reverted, maybe the articles were deleted and restored without the "offending" revisions, perhaps by a Wikipedia admin with a particular interest in that subject.
Mind you, I'm not saying that actually happened, just that it wouldn't surprise me. Two nights ago, it might have surprised me.