Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Little Book of Plagiarism

I'm reading Posner's The Little Book of Plagiarism. "Reading" may not even be the right way to put it, since the book is so small (109 pages and pocket-sized) that I nearly finished it in one round-trip commute. (Don't worry--I take the train.)

I'd definitely recommend the book to any writer, publisher, editor, or even blogger. Aside from the fact that it's a quick and interesting read and not at all like the legal treatise it could be (and haven't we all wanted to peek inside the comparisons between Kaavya Viswanathan's writing and Megan McCafferty's?), it's full of things that we should be thinking about as we make writing and publishing decisions. Plagiarism isn't quite so straightforward as it might seem, as evidenced by some of the respected authors and scholars who've been called out for it.

For instance, did you know it was considered plagiarism to cite a source you found referenced in another source without citing the place you found it as well? Poor practice and risky, certainly, but plagiarism? Frankly, I didn't know that, and I'm both a writer and an attorney.

It's good information, and it only takes a minute (well, a couple of hours, then) to read. And if it gets you interested in all issues plagiarism, you'll also want to check out Jonathan Bailey's Plagiarism Today blog. I don't know Jonathan, but he happened to leave a comment on my post about Eggs, Milk, Vodka last week that coincidentally had me checking his blog on the same day I checked out Posner's little book. It was a happy coincidence and he went straight into my bookmarks.

12 comments:

Ugly Naked Guy said...

Interesting subject. As an English teacher, I see plagerism all the time. Kids just don't get it. I had one kid just copy down an example essay out of the textbook, change the names and turn it in as his own. When I asked him about it he insisted it was his own!

Speedcat Hollydale said...

It was a happy coincidence and he went straight into my bookmarks. LOL :-)
Speedcat Hollydale Page

Taylor_Blue said...

omg...i saw a picture of those smarties too and I thought that it was fake. So US smarties are different. Canadian smarties are like M&Ms but they melt in your hand.

Carey said...

I'll have to check this out. Anything that avoids legalese is appealing. No offense, but I fall asleep to a lengthy work of "heretoins" and "aforementions." Cheers.

Taylor_Blue said...

They actually have a book like that?? Wow...and smarties are chocolate...

RockStories said...

Clearly, Taylor, those Smarties have been plagiarised...and they're a poor copy, too.

An investigation is required. What is the earliest date to which you can trace the chocolate Canadian Smarties?

Taylor_Blue said...

Those smarties that I saw in the pic look like our Rockets...

http://candyaddict.com/blog/2005/10/11/smarties-differences/

the rockets are on this page...scroll down and you will see them...

http://www.bewarethecheese.com/holloween.htm

Taylor_Blue said...

I wasn't spamming you either...don't worry send your links to me anytime ... its all good... :)

365 Days - One Goal - Can I Do It? said...

Plagiarism is like a blogging epidemic nowadays. Hopefully someone finds a cure soon... Get on that!

Frog the Dog said...

Hellooo, just popped into each of your blogs, and enjoyed your writing on all of them. Good for you!
Frog the dog posted on smarties a while back; are English Smarties the same as Canadian smarties?? We have candy coated choc smarties - yum!!

Rose said...

I'll check out the book and I know Jonathan. Read Jonathan Bailey post
"An Even Darker Side of Scraping."

Two Write Hands said...

It sounds like an interesting book--one I will have to pick up. There's a lot of grey area. Do you do intellectual property law?