There is a general assumption that plagiarism is always committed by lazy students or overambitious professionals. But ever since the discovery of plagiarism in one’s own work, the concept is seen to be more pervasive than it was in the past. Plagiarism is not a recent concept but rather has existed in the past. Most acts are frequently performed by famous professionals, politicians and even personnel working in the media.
There are so many events of plagiarism that have not been brought to light but this article creates a list of plagiarism acts that have existed over time.
- A student at Moorestown Township, New Jersey by the name Blair Hornstine was denied admission into Harvard University in 2003 June. Denial of admission was after she was found guilty of submitting articles of popular people. A speech by Bill Clinton from a local newspaper was one of the many developments she submitted for admission and claimed as her own.
- Harlan Ellison sued James Cameron claiming that ‘the Terminator’ movie was plagiarized from the first two episodes of ‘Demon with a Glass hand’ and ‘Soldier’.
- The producers of ‘Nosferatu’ film of 1922 were sued by the widow of Bram Stoker and this was because she claimed that what was done in the movie was an unauthorized version of what the husband had composed in his novel the ‘Dracula’. After the lawsuit, a larger percentage of the film was destroyed although numerous copies of the same still exist.
- The list of plagiarism is common in listing individuals or groups of people who have committed the act. There is an instance where the UK was accused of stealing a text from a California postgraduate student. The text copied was used to develop a security report for Iraq government by the UK government.
- Kimberly Lanegram was also a victim of plagiarism after she found out about the existence of a word for word copy from her doctoral thesis. When this was realized, she began an investigation against the plagiarist, Marks Chabedi. the plagiarism was found guilty of intellectual theft and since he was a staff at the University, he was fired and no longer had to work for the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. His title as a holder of Ph.D. and a Professor was withdrawn and invalidated by the school where he sought his degree from.
- Plagiarists are not the only individual who qualify to be citizens because an instance of a child found plagiarizing adds to the popular plagiarism instances. Hellen Keller, an underage was accused of stealing ideas.
- George Harrison from the music department was accused and sued for plagiarism after he used ‘Chiffon’s He is so fine’ melody in his new song ‘My Sweet Lord’.
- Pong was accused by Magnavox to have copied the tennis game by Odyssey.
- In 2003 June, there was a list of highly ranked officials from New York Times realized that Jayson Blair a reporter faked some quotes and plagiarized numerous articles before he submitted them for editing. Most of these stories are high profile and most of them are still ongoing until today.
- A popular professor and publicly known author of Psychology books at were fired from Leiden University where he was a teacher since 1997 upon being found guilty of intellectual theft. Rene Diekstra proceeded with the case against the professor until 2003.
- While he was being nominated as a Democrat President, Senator Joseph Biden had his nomination revoked and step down from the post after he was found guilty of information theft. As a result, he got bad grades in his last years at law school. The British Labor leader was also found to have submitted copied of plagiarized speeches from Niel Kinnock and Robert Kennedy.
- A higher percentage of the public also believed that Martin Luther’s Jr. famous words of ‘I have a dream’ were plagiarized with contents from the address of Archibald Carey in 1952 to the Republican National Convention.
- Alex Haley was compelled to compensate Harold Courlander $650,000 after he admitted that passage from his ‘Roots’ novel was derived from ‘The African’.
- In 1973 during the Eurovision song competition, a performing group with the entrance name of Eres was found to have presented plagiarized work that was borrowed from ESC. There were no strict punishments for this group although they had their music canceled at the end of the competition.
With these instances, it is clear that plagiarism has existed in the past years but it is unfortunate also that even after listing the consequences of such acts, the number of cases found with intellectual theft continues to rise among students and professionals as well. It is very important that when you are coming up with content, always remember that the key to success is writing an original paper.
However, it is very hard to avoid using or borrowing other people’s ideas but every time you borrow an idea from another author, remember to acknowledge their contribution. The most practical advice is to always ensure self-publishing and have proof that the ideas are your own.