Spooky Violins: On Discovering Another Poet’s Plagiarism
Electric Literature

Interesting. I’ve had two stints in college: one 1974–1978 and one 1998–2002.

This does not surprise me in the slightest, and yes, I blame academe. During my second pass through, on the green side of the cut/copy/paste technology, though before “data curation” — aka plaigarism — became a way to make a living, teachers expected that the students would copy/paste pieces of their assignments, and do so without attribution. Part of this is do to unrealistic expectations: even in college, given an assignment on Monday to present a 5-page, 5-10 minute paper and illustrated presentation leaves one with few alternatives. Several classes I had had requirements like this: you were to print overheads to illustrate your talk. Most students just cut/pasted/printed pictures from wherever. When I gave my presentation, with abbreviated, but complete attributions: (Smith, “Secret life of plants” page 47.” or “hadrosaur drawing by Gary Jones, http://dinosaurs4you.com”)

my professors and instructors took note of it to lecture the scofflaws in the class with no attribution. I’ve also had a long explanative essay on the Web stolen, and reprinted with the substitution of Indiana for Missouri geology by someone with Indiana state government; I was responsible for that person being fired. Those under about 45 do not seem to skip any sleep about copy/paste and putting their name on it, because they “found” it. Personal originality is a lost art virtue as this essay implies. And it will just get worse, considering the restrictive nature and onerous financial and logistical burden for any compensation or legal recourse.

Happy loss of compensation for intellectual property to all!

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