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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

And While We're on the Topic of Plagiarism

In case you missed this story, I felt compelled to share it with you here. A few weeks ago, a columnist with the Daily Toreador, the student newspaper at Texas Tech University, was fired for allegedly plagiarizing a blog on which he based two of his articles. What was the topic of the plagiarized articles? Plagiarism.

The announcement as it appeared in the Daily Toreador can be found here.

When you've finished chuckling, as I did, you'll be interested to know that the Daily Toreador articles and the blog from which they were allegedly plagiarized, both lifted the text from the CrimethInc. Ex-Workers' Collective publication, Days of War, Nights of Love. Thus the plot thickens.

To make matters more complicated both the blog writer and the columnist claim that CrimethInc. encourages plagiarism of their materials, and in particular, in Days of War, Nights of Love. I have not yet been able to confirm that - not having read the book - but I think what we've stumbled upon here, yet again, is the complex nature of plagiarism.

The question then becomes: is it a matter of obtaining the author's permission, or is it a matter of citation? I think it's the latter. I don't think being given permission to plagiarize absolves you of having the responsibility of citing the work. I am, however, willing to see a separation between plagiarizing an idea (a particular position on a topic), and plagiarizing the specific words used to express that idea. Now that is a lot more than I am willing to tackle in my little blog.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

fascinating conversation