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Plagiarism as an Art Form

10 Aug

Have you in the last year or so looked for free essays to plagiarise? Have you adapted what seemed to be attractive material into your essay or dissertation without properly checking or referencing…

Some of you may have asked these questions of students before and some of you may have taken part in the Koolhaus discussion on my review of ‘his’ book Creative Theory, Radical Example, well now the link between these two is revealed and discussed over at Jeff’s blog pertaining to the use of technology and how it’s changing education.  Check the link below.

Source: Plagiarism as an Art Form

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60 Comments

Posted by on 10/08/2016 in Art, Blogging, Essays, Journalism, Life

 

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60 responses to “Plagiarism as an Art Form

  1. Asha Seth

    10/08/2016 at 18:10

    This is important stuff. Thanks for sharing it, J.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      10/08/2016 at 18:13

      It does make one question how easy it is to get away with this stuff and also raises questions on how to police it, stricter attention to source material would have to be employed at the very least.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  2. Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author

    10/08/2016 at 18:12

    Oh, I know this is terrible, but I sometimes run some material I find or am reading and run it through my “Grammarly” to see just how authentic the writer is and not using someone else’s writing and what if any percentage is Plagiarism??? LOL. I know, terrible right?

    Cat

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Ste J

      10/08/2016 at 18:27

      Not terrible just a tough critic haha. I think it is eye opening to do that every so often, especially when sometimes there feels some similarity between writers. It opens up fascinating questions about homages, inspirations, parodies and just plain laziness.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author

        10/08/2016 at 20:56

        LOL. Very true. It did just happen on LinkedIn. An article I read by someone wrote seemed kind of similar to one read I had read a few months back. So, I checked it out., and the guy didn’t even give any credit to the person he stole from.

        So, you know me, i made a comment about it in the comment section. Yes, I did very politely …. Lol.
        *Cat*

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        • Ste J

          10/08/2016 at 20:59

          And rightly so, this should be commented and the original writer contacted…the only way to make people think twice is to let them know there are vigilant readers out there who won’t stand for it. well noticed by the way!

          Liked by 1 person

           
    • Jeff

      10/08/2016 at 21:58

      I just looked, and I remember gmail advertised Grammarly to me. Must have been my email conversations. You might be wasting your time in polishing your work. Unlike how in the ad the student needs to worry about a polished CV, I’ve found my education count against me in interview. I’m apparently going to be bored.
      So how do you know, for example, if inauthentic or unconsciously plagiarised writing necessarily works against you? There’s the possibility that something rougher that uses familiar phrases gets read as something from the heart rather than from the head, right? Polish has to polish something of value, doesn’t it? And who’s to say what’s ‘authentic’? A coder selling a software product?

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author

        11/08/2016 at 01:25

        Very well put Jeff. And, I hear what you are saying. Since my book is a memoir, and it deals with many “heart felt” issues, I do write from my heart not always from the head. Lol.

        I mostly use grammarly for spell check, grammar, and punctuation. I was not the best student in school. If I do use material from an article or facts from research, I give credit and always try to ask permission from the author.

        I write many recovery and addiction articles, so it is hard to get around using facts and some info from other sources. I think the bottom line here is if a person is asking permission and giving credit to the original writer of the work they are using?

        If they are not? Sorry, that is flat out plagiarised work you are passing off as your own. And like Steve said, the person being ripped off would not be very happy about it. Here is an example when this happened my blog friend Jason of “Harsh Reality”
        https://aopinionatedman.com/how-to-find-out-if-people-are-stealing-from-you/

        Thanks Jeff for sharing your thoughts 🙂

        Catherine

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        • Jeff

          12/08/2016 at 12:46

          Thanks for the link. I didn’t realise that there are people who rip-off blog posts. I assume the intention is to use this ‘free’ content to generate income through advertising. I’ll bet though that the only people making the money are the hosts who charge for accounts on such platforms. There are so many people who still imagine that it’s possible to earn a living from this kind of thing just because an advert for it has (made up) testimonials. Even if a tiny minority does earn, Confirmation Bias will always encourage suckers to ignore probabilities in favour of dreams and hyperbole.
          As for your own research, I hope you have a healthy scepticism towards the source materials. Are you aware of the anti-psychiatry movement and its legacy?
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-psychiatry
          Worth a look for getting a balanced view on therapy culture, something that’s hard to get when the latter enjoys so much publicity and has so much hope invested in it by so many.
          Not to say that research into addiction and recovery always subscribes to the dreaded ‘medical model’, or that the model is always unhelpful. It’s just that it’s good to be aware of alternative views.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author

            13/08/2016 at 00:10

            I will go explore the site. So, thanks Jeff for the link. I am a fair and open minded person, and I like sharing all views and info. We “humans” are all different for a reason. So if something even non-traditional helps even one person? It is worth sharing all views to help others. 🙂

            Catherine

            Liked by 1 person

             
            • Jeff

              17/08/2016 at 21:31

              Hey Catherine
              I just revisited Grammarly. I notice that it’s marketed heavily towards students, and is billed firstly as a plagiarism checker – a coincidence perhaps. So I tried some sections of my books. From the bits that passed clean (most) and those that didn’t, I feel 90% confident that I can see what a plagiarist would need to do to avoid detection. Perhaps I should have used the tool myself while developing the books! Thanks for the reminder (though I guess I would have been advertised at, what with my email conversations being used by Google).
              Jeff

              Liked by 1 person

               
              • Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author & Columnist

                17/08/2016 at 23:39

                See, it’s not so bad of a tool. Lol.

                I can tell you since I didn’t bode well in English and grammar, it is why I decided to try the free trial and loved it! It has improved my writing, although I don’t always use the ‘suggested’ replacement wording all the time. Like you, I write from the heart and with more feelings. So, the suggested words they give don’t always seem to fit for me….. “Oh to each is own” Lol.

                Glad you are giving it a try.
                Cat

                Like

                 
  3. Sarah

    10/08/2016 at 18:24

    Haha – for a moment there I thought you had just cut and pasted Jeff’s entire post in what would have been the funniest demonstration of his point ever! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

     
  4. Jill Weatherholt

    10/08/2016 at 18:46

    Good stuff, Ste J. My friend’s indie book was plagiarized…she was so upset about it, she stopped writing.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Ste J

      10/08/2016 at 18:56

      Did she take legal action? It is utterly shocking that things like this happen, whether it is authors or students trying to con a better grade. That it is a growing problem is evident but talk of appropriate action seems markedly less so.

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      • Jill Weatherholt

        10/08/2016 at 22:39

        I don’t believe she did, Ste J. As I mentioned to Jeff, she went off line after announcing it on her blog. She was in utter shock.

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        • Ste J

          11/08/2016 at 09:08

          That’s a real shame, it must be a terrible feeling to have that done to someone who has slaved over words in such a loving way.

          Liked by 1 person

           
    • Jeff

      10/08/2016 at 20:49

      Jill – That’s terrible. I can understand her reaction. Was this a site that published her book file for free and would only respond to communications from lawyers? Or was this a clearly derivative adaptation?

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      • Jill Weatherholt

        10/08/2016 at 22:37

        I’m not sure of the details, Jeff. She was a blogging friend and after this happened, she went offline.

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        • Jeff

          12/08/2016 at 12:32

          It’s the flipside to a more ‘democratic’ view that text is ‘just information’ and ‘should be free’: no jobs. The more we’re unwilling to pay for creative artefacts because they’re digital, the less opportunity there is to earn from digital creativity. Rip-off merchants can only exist while they have thoughtless or unscrupulous ‘customers’.

          Liked by 1 person

           
  5. colemining

    10/08/2016 at 19:36

    Back when I was still teaching at the uni I was ‘scouted’ by a recruiter at one of the ‘essay mills’. Since I am vehemently opposed to theft AND extremely concerned with the state of our education system, I declined the invitation to participate (and switched careers entirely… but that’s another story…).

    Unfortunately there are too many adjunct/part time professors and educators of all stripes whose precarious job situations/lack of adequate pay make that sort of thing attractive as a means to keep a roof over their heads.

    Interesting post, Steve!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      10/08/2016 at 19:58

      I can’t take any credit for the post, apart from being complicit in the book review of t’other year.

      The state of education and the job situation and pay are all important for not just the short term but the future of our race, sadly we find the state of things the same over here as well. I can understand the conflict that these people face, we all have to live and sometimes it means betraying the thing they (sometimes) love to keep their homes.

      Liked by 1 person

       
    • Jeff

      10/08/2016 at 20:51

      colemining – were you a research student or staff member at the time?

      Like

       
      • colemining

        10/08/2016 at 21:07

        Hi Jeff- I was an adjunct professor.

        Like

         
        • Jeff

          10/08/2016 at 21:15

          Wow! The irony of that situation just blows me away. I used to get approached because of a blog I wrote as an undergrad. I shan’t say what my response was. I was poor, and I was in an elite university. What can I say? So I concur with what you say about the economic realities. For me the ultimate irony is that if the inside stories were written about this, who’d read them?
          I hope you feel you’ve gained, in the balance, from your education experience though.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • colemining

            10/08/2016 at 21:20

            Oh absolutely! Wouldn’t trade in the PhD and all it has taught me for anything. And still miss teaching like crazy. I just couldn’t handle the financial precarity and the fact that the university seemed increasingly focused on the number of people paying tuition to the detriment of actual educational standards.

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            • Jeff

              10/08/2016 at 21:34

              colemining – If you don’t mind me asking – what are you doing now? I also wonder why you think tuition fees are to the detriment?
              I’ve ended up in the civil service as a temp. So on the one hand I get told how much I stand out, yet on the other, I get told how the government cuts mean there’s no jobs. I’m not a grasping person, but minimum wage is neither something I expected as a (post)graduate, nor something that facilitates even a basic standard of life.
              Ste J – sorry if that’s a discouraging portrayal of enrolling for a degree, but there it is. On the upside, it’s been great to write some fun books and had a partner or two in crime!

              Liked by 1 person

               
              • Ste J

                10/08/2016 at 21:57

                I’ll crack on with my Open University degree when enrolment comes around and manage that with the day/night job. The degree is a means to an end and not something I really wish to do to be honest as I hate to have to curtail my reading to a certain extent, however needs must and I know it will be rewarding in some ways.

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                • Jeff

                  10/08/2016 at 22:08

                  Good stuff: don’t be put off. You’ll love the experience of exploring different methods for approaching subjects. And you’ll grow from the torture of having your beloved work hacked to pieces. You’re clearly a thwarted natural who needs a foil. What you going to do? Literature? History?

                  Like

                   
                  • Ste J

                    10/08/2016 at 22:20

                    Literature is the foremost, followed by language and history but there are so many courses that seem to interest me, it will probably be literature as it will probably be the path of least resistance and I may have a head start in some of the books too. I am looking forward to being pushed in different directions and being challenged, anything to make me better.

                    Like

                     
              • colemining

                10/08/2016 at 23:23

                At the moment I’m working for the government as an analyst- but looking to transition into something that better-suits my skills and interests.

                I don’t have an issue with tuition fees- just that universities seem more interested in putting tuition-paying butts in seats than in developing the quality of the education being provided to those butts. I could go on and on (apologies for taking over your comments, Steve), but here (in Canada) tuition keeps rising, and more students are accepted (even if many of them can’t handle the work/commitment that should come along with a university degree), yet there are fewer full-time (let alone tenure/tenure-track) teaching staff.

                Which isn’t to say that adjunct/part time professors aren’t outstanding… but they aren’t provided anything close to the support they need to contribute to meaningful post-secondary education. And many of them live well-below the poverty line- despite their experience and knowledge.

                I’ll get off my soapbox now 😉

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                • Ste J

                  11/08/2016 at 11:15

                  No apologies pleas,e dialogue is what is needed and the number of comments will make me look really popular to boot, it’s a win/win for me.

                  Liked by 1 person

                   
                • Jeff

                  12/08/2016 at 12:38

                  I don’t know about Canada, but in the UK, the rises in tuition fees engender an attitude among students that they’re entitled to better education because it’s out of their pockets. They don’t accept that there’s been a transfer from the public to the private pocket. At the same time, as you say, there’s increases in student numbers and reductions in staff. The result is a mistaken view that paying higher fees should result in higher grades, thus absolving the responsibility for putting in the work. This can only play into the hands of essay mills.

                  Liked by 1 person

                   
                  • colemining

                    12/08/2016 at 14:19

                    Definitely. Much the same here. Education is more-and-more treated as if it is a commodity- so, since they paid for it, students think that the achievement of a degree is a given, regardless of whether or not they do the work.

                    One of the many significant issues in the higher education game- and one of the primary reasons I made the difficult decision to change my career path.

                    Like

                     
  6. clarepooley33

    11/08/2016 at 13:04

    Thanks for this really interesting post and the ensuing dialogue Ste. Food for thought indeed.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      12/08/2016 at 13:07

      It really is the elephant in the room concerning education but good to have it getting some fascinating discussion. I hope this achieves a wider audience at soon.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  7. Jessica

    11/08/2016 at 14:18

    I love the phrase “metatwaddle” — a shorthand for wordy prose that sounds impressive but leaves you mystified as to its meaning. I think many politicians are pretty fluent in this dialect…

    This book seems like an interesting thought experiment. I’ve been thinking a lot about appropriation artists like Koons and Prince lately, and it’s interesting to see how this has been explored in literature as well. Thank you for this thought provoking post! I’ll be thinking more about this on my flight tonight.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      12/08/2016 at 14:18

      Reviewing the Koolhaus book was fun as I was already in on it and wanted to create some chatter about it and now with this big reveal and discussion, it is great to see people’s thoughts. A flight is always a great time for meditation on such topics, that and looking for people that live in the clouds.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Jessica

        19/08/2016 at 23:01

        Have you ever found any cloud-people?

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        • Ste J

          21/08/2016 at 17:19

          Sadly not despite staring really hard at the clouds…I did identify several dwelling places though.

          Like

           
  8. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder

    11/08/2016 at 21:15

    Great stuff. Plagiarism laws in India are not strong enough. It’s pretty easy to copy someone else’s writings/ideas by saying xyz was only “inspired” by the work… :/

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      12/08/2016 at 14:13

      That’s such a cheap go around, I find those sort of people are the one’s with a lot less talent who can only gain off the talent of others and that says it all really. If I read the inspired by line now I will always be seeking the original.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  9. Resa

    11/08/2016 at 21:54

    It must be hard for young, lazy people to understand what’s wrong with plagiarism when the politicians who are/or want to be our leaders, and 1 wife keep getting caught with their pants down., ie..Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Paul Rand and Melania Trump. Although all American examples, it was Neil Kinnock, British, who was plagiarized by Joe Biden. All of these people are huge successes in their areas, and although temporarily chastised, remain in the game.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      12/08/2016 at 13:32

      The Melania Trump example was truly ridiculous, it really underlined the sheer ineptness of the whole presidential race this time around. That this seems to be accepted without real consequence shows that our society is lacking a strong need to take these people to task and once you have it in place at the top it will filter down. Education needs to be about critical thinking, interpretation and thinking for oneself, without that it is hard to see how we can hold ourself to any sort of decent standard.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  10. shadowoperator

    12/08/2016 at 14:21

    Dear Ste J, Hi. Thanks for the introduction to Jeff’s blog. He really has a lot to say, and it was a good experience to read it. I answered at length (though probably at too much length) on his blog. Ta! dearie! Give Bela a pat. I hope you and Jeff get out for a brew together now and then when you’re in the same part of the world, and consider yourselves both on the receiving end of a virtual brew from me!

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    • Ste J

      13/08/2016 at 13:26

      I love a good introduction, although in real life I find them sightly awkward and generally mumble something and leave people to get to know each other…sociability is always a challenge. Length is good my friend, what you say is always worth reading and I have read it so I know what I’m going on about. I wonder if anybody will believe my book reviews ever again now hehe!

      Like

       
  11. Christy Birmingham

    13/08/2016 at 19:13

    I will head over to Jeff’s blog to check it out. It’s important to bring more attention to plagiarism so thank you x You always seem to be able to incorporate current issues into the blog and thank you for that.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      14/08/2016 at 15:41

      I like to mix it up sometimes and I appreciate your continued support. We bloggers are a big target for the plagiarists, you would think it would be more effective to reblog, gain a bigger network and then interact with the post and blogger, which is what we bloggers do…we are essentially trend setters.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  12. Seyi sandra

    13/08/2016 at 22:39

    This reminded me of a post I wrote long ago on plagiarism, it’s quiet common I dare say. I’ve missed so many of your posts dear friend. Just came back from holiday, I hope you’re good? Glad to be here. 🙂

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    • Ste J

      14/08/2016 at 15:22

      I am not too bad, poddling along, unsuccessfully trying to cram too much into my days lol. I hope you had a wonderful holiday and feel refreshed my friend. I think I remember your plagarism post, will swing by soon, hopefully tomorrow and catch up on your latest post.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  13. The Book Haven

    14/08/2016 at 13:46

    There is a thin line between inspiration and theft of intellectual property. Not too many people respect or understand it, particularly in the realm of the World Wide Web. I believe along with law enforcement, creating awareness on the issue could bring down plagiarism to an extent. In my country, music piracy, though largely there, has been bought under control to some extent with media campaigns and related non-legal strategies.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      14/08/2016 at 15:44

      I think an awareness and networking would greatly help the blogging community, for example, to police their content better, it’s a big ask but people need to know that because something is on the internet it doesn’t make it public domain by virtue of it being there.

      Like

       
      • The Book Haven

        14/08/2016 at 15:53

        Absolutely. May be a bit encouragement for original works from platforms like WordPress and Blogger could yield great results.

        Like

         
  14. Purpleanais

    20/08/2016 at 23:52

    I read this a little while ago and was sure I had commented however my comment doesn’t appear so maybe I just imagined it :-/
    In any case, plagiarism drives me nuts but it IS widespread. When I was studying journalism we were told that all newspapers steal from others. As long as it’s not from a “famous” name, then it’s fair game. The thinking is that as soon as it’s published, it’s in the public domain hence it’s okay to steal it. Outrageous, right? I once sent a full article with photos (I am a fool because I had been told to “pitch” and never send the finished product to anyone) to a newspaper and they published it without crediting me at all. NOTHING, whatsoever. I was so angry but that was just after I qualified and I was still too naive, I never did that again. Still, I only found out they’d published it because a friend of mine who was one of my “sources” in the article saw it in the paper and phoned me. They had never contacted me back so I’d assumed they were not interested. But, anyway, plagiarism is everywhere, one of my friends has a habit of tweeting what I say to him in conversation…if he thinks I said anything “deep”, he’ll just tweet it and it drives me mad because he’s passing it off as his own! I mean, I know it’s only tweeting but it’s the principle. Once some celebrity retweeted one of my quotes he’d tweeted and his tweet (which was really mine) went viral…and I lost it. I told him that if he couldn’t come up with it, then he should stay quiet and not steal other people’s stuff. He hasn’t done it since.
    A CEO of a charity on Twitter tweeted something from a writer a few months back and I told him that as a CEO he should lead by example and quote his source, because his followers were clearly assuming from their responses that he was the original writer…he didn’t appreciate my tweet (which was rather polite actually) and blocked me from Twitter. You see what we’re fighting against! Sorry for going on but as a writer, I’m rather touchy about the subject…although stealing is just plain wrong whatever it is you’re stealing, anyway.
    Okay, I’ll shut up now loool #Sorry

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      21/08/2016 at 18:33

      Newspapers have long ceased to be worth reading, their seems to be less and less quality journalism and then you have to question if you can trust a decent percentage of what is left. You’re right people seem to not care where they get anything from, it’s disgusting for writers to have their work taken and no credit given and then effectively silencing any dissenting voices. It makes you wonder how creative people will be in future if people are content to steal the work of others.

      It the same with the lazy plagiarism of Jeff’s book, it was downloaded by a few people and I wonder if any of them were used as actual sources in exams. All we ask is that people either ask us for permission or link to us if they use things, it’s not difficult to do and is always a reward for our hard work.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  15. thecasualbibliophile

    24/10/2016 at 07:03

    Without plagiarism and therefore inspiration, art movements wouldn’t exist.
    In the same way Wagner copied Beethoven and Barry copied Wagner. An endless cycle.

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    • Ste J

      24/10/2016 at 15:32

      That is certainly a fair point but the post isn’t about that, although I appreciate the title’s ambiguity, it’s about the effects of plagiarism on education and the students as well as the new industry springing up that exacerbates the problem.

      Like

       

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