A few thoughts on plagiarism

Plagiarism has been in the news a lot lately, with everyone from Christian pastors to Hollywood movie stars and opinion-makers facing public charges of infringing on the copyrights or ideas of others, taking other people's original words and either claiming as their own or obscuring credit to the source material.

I find this trend disturbing, but correctible. Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves, which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

These continued stories of writers with fuzzy skills appropriating others’ work as their own makes for a worse situation than the time Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams and found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was lying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his domelike brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly stay in place and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes.

There exists a divide between homage and misappropriation of another’s work. This chasm is particularly noticeable in the entertainment sector, because there's no business like show business, like no business I know. Everything about it is appealing, everything that traffic will allow. Nowhere could you get that happy feeling when you are stealing that extra bow.

The original thoughts of others are gifts to the worldwide discourse and should not be contravened or disregarded, like a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he'd sent all the way from Texas, black and white, spotted. And our little girl Tricia, the six year old, named it "Checkers." And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it.

Plagiarism is most heinous when it is performed under the guise of journalism and punditry. I don’t have immediate solutions to this crisis. All I know is first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, "I'm a human being. Goddamn it, my life has value." So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

We all must take a stand against plagiarism. 'Tis better that the enemy seek us. We’ve got to get down, boogie oogie oogie. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. Open the pod bay door, HAL. We’re gonna need a bigger boat, because we represent the Lollipop Guild. Mork calling Orson: If you like piña coladas, pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing, and I’d like to buy the world a Coke. Say hello to my little friend.

You can contact me if you need further consultation about how to fight plagiarism. I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number so call me maybe.


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