No plagiarism please
How hard the checks, they plagiaries it anyhow
UNETHICAL PRACTICE BY SOUZEINA MUSHTAQ
Skimming through the pages of my department’s journal, I stumbled upon a story about some social issue, written by a senior journalist colleague. A glance at it gave me a sense of déjà vu- some two years back I had written the same story for one of the leading local dailies where I worked. And the feeling was not wrong; it actually was my story!
I looked at the byline again, and was aghast to see a name that was dissimilar to mine. My work and that too already published one, under some different name? How could anyone do that! I was mad at everything. But my dismalness was of no use; I was a victim of plagiarism.
If I say that the famous poem ‘Tonight I can write the saddest lines’ is written by me, people will pounce on me and rip me apart; for even a child knows that the poem is the work of one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, Pablo Neruda. And my doing that is ethically and morally wrong.
Recently, a friend of mine, who is pursuing MBA, told me about her classmate, a person passionate about writing, and a victim of plagiarism. He had sent his manuscript to his publisher friend in America. His book was published but with a twist; the friend had attributed the work to himself, leaving the writer in lurch. He is still fighting for his work.
Today plagiarism occurs more than people know or admit. It has blurred the line between your work and my work. It does not always mean copying information but stealing the writing style as well. The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that to plagiarize is “to commit literary theft” that is, to take ones idea(s) that are written down and pass theirs off as your own work. This type of plagiarism is called "metaphor plagiarism” which is not always taking information word by word but using the same comparison or words to describe something.
Many renowned writers, from Laurence Sterne to Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Susan Sontag, are accused of plagiarism. Even the world’s outstanding playwrights, William Shakespeare fits in the profile. Some say that he does not fully deserve the credit for his work because he plagiarized the work of others.
In this internet age, where everything is available at a single click; when every itty-bitty detail is obtainable and accessible, mostly without charges, a user has become accountable to nobody. When there is no accountability, there is every possibility of plagiarizing, and as such it has become a common phenomenon.
Plagiarism is one of the main problems in education also. In November 2001, CNN reported a case of alleged rampant plagiarism at the University of Virginia involving 72 cases and 148 students. According to statistics in a survey conducted by the Free Press, 58% of high school students let someone copy their work in 1969, but by 1989 this number had risen to 97%.
Earlier students plagiarized out of necessity because things were not so easy. But today when technology is at your disposal, it has become hard to avoid. You need an assignment, just google it and in no time your assignment is ready. Though this practice has marred creativity and infused laziness in students.
To fight the bug of plagiarism, many websites have disabled right-click to limit the amount of copying. The state also grants copyright, an exclusive right, to the generator of the original work which allows distribution or permanent transfer to other person but with his/her permission. Some plagiarism detection software’s have also been developed to identify plagiarized material, leaving no scope for copying anything.
But those who want to plagiarize do it anyway. No software or law can stop them, except their own principles and conscience. Though it has been advised to either underline or italicize and use quotation marks while using somebody’s work in your copy.
As I write this, I fear someone else may reproduce the piece to teach people not-to-plagiarize-philosophy. But for those and all plagiarists, I have only this to say: No plagiarism please!
Lastupdate on : Tue, 11 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 11 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 12 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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