Tag Archives | Plagiarism

There is No Such Thing as An Original Idea

big-mickDavid Lose writes:

Creativity is all the rage these days: what it is, how you develop it, the various ways in which you express it. A slew of bestselling books, including my favorite Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer, offers insight into the nature, origin and application of our fundamental, foundational, and phenomenal ability to engage in creative acts.

While the approaches and analyses differ somewhat at various points, one of the major points of convergence revolves around destroying the myth of the “solitary genius.” Creativity doesn’t, in other words, happen in a vacuum – creative ideas are always inspired, nurtured, cajoled, and spurred forward by other ideas. Which means that creative people are always drawing on the work of others, consciously or unconsciously.

Mark Twain said much the same in a letter to Helen Keller, reflecting on an incident years earlier when she had been charged – and acquitted – of plagiarism:

Oh, dear me, how unspeakably funny and owlishly idiotic and grotesque was that ‘plagiarism’ farce!

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‘Friday Night Lights’ Creator Accuses Mitt Romney of Plagiarism

Continuing the theme of Republican politicians being humiliated by musicians whose songs they have coopted, Mitt Romney is has been scolded for his use of the TV series “Friday Night Lights” slogan “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose”, reports Matthew Belloni for the Hollywood Reporter:

Peter Berg, the writer-director of the Friday Night Lights movie and television series, is not pleased that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has co-opted a phrase from the show for his campaign appearances.

In a letter to the Romney campaign sent Friday and obtained exclusively by The Hollywood Reporter, Berg calls the use of “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose” an act of stealing. “Your politics and campaign are clearly not aligned with the themes we portrayed in our series,” Berg writes in the letter. “The only relevant comparison that I see between your campaign and Friday Night Lights is in the character of Buddy Garrity — who turned his back on American car manufacturers selling imported cars from Japan.”

Read the Full Letter Here.

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Bob Dylan, Plagiarist

It’s hard to believe that Dylan would so naively copy other people’s work and pass it off as his own, but that appears to be exactly what he’s done. From ARTINFO:

Time and time again folk rock legend Bob Dylan has blatantly borrowed for his lyrics. Christie’s auction house acknowledged in 2009 that a handwritten Dylan poem that was up for sale really consisted of words from a song by country crooner Hank Snow. Director Martin Scorsese showed in his 2005 documentary, “No Direction Home,” how Dylan stole the line “Go away from my window…” — the immortal opener of his 1964 song “It Ain’t Me, Babe” — from singer John Jacob Niles. Dylan also purloined text from Japanese writer Junichi Saga‘s novel “Confessions of a Yakuza” for his 2001 album “Love and Theft.” And that’s not the only thing Dylan lifted from Asia.

Dylan painting

Bob Dylan's "Opium," (2009) next to a photograph by Léon Busy, taken in Vietnam in 1915.

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The Shadow Scholar – The Man Who Writes Students’ Papers Tells His Story

AnonymousIf you ever wondered why America’s great centers of learning churn out this endless parade of half-asses and mouth-breathers, our friend Ed Dante tells us how they make the grade. From the academic journal The Chronicle Review:

The request came in by e-mail around 2 in the afternoon. It was from a previous customer, and she had urgent business. I quote her message here verbatim (if I had to put up with it, so should you): “You did me business ethics propsal for me I need propsal got approved pls can you will write me paper?”

I’ve gotten pretty good at interpreting this kind of correspondence. The client had attached a document from her professor with details about the paper. She needed the first section in a week. Seventy-five pages.

I told her no problem.

It truly was no problem. In the past year, I’ve written roughly 5,000 pages of scholarly literature, most on very tight deadlines.

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Is Plagiarism OK?

PrtscrThe New York Times ponders plagiarism in the digital age, where films like Rip: A Remix Manifesto question traditional notions of copyright and fair use:

At Rhode Island College, a freshman copied and pasted from a Web site’s frequently asked questions page about homelessness — and did not think he needed to credit a source in his assignment because the page did not include author information.

At DePaul University, the tip-off to one student’s copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web; when confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive — he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black.

And at the University of Maryland, a student reprimanded for copying from Wikipedia in a paper on the Great Depression said he thought its entries — unsigned and collectively written — did not need to be credited since they counted, essentially, as common knowledge.

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