Friday, July 10, 2009

It Was Only Cryptomnesia!

Could some alleged plagiarists be guilty of psychological sloppiness rather than fraud, asks Russ Juskalian in a very interesting piece at Newsweek, but concludes :
Unconscious plagiarism does exist, but writers who don't take proactive steps to avoid it are often either being lazy, or they have a diminished fear of being caught. Driving is a good model: it is easy enough to drift over the speed limit without being aware of it, but vigilant drivers can prevent the habit by forcing themselves to pay conscious attention to the problem. And just as not knowing one's speed won't save one from a ticket, the fact that unconscious plagiarism isn't outright fraud doesn't make "It was cryptomnesia!" much of an excuse. Unconscious plagiarism may not be a "felony," said Schneider, but it's still a journalistic "misdemeanor."
Readers' responses to the article have been compiled here.

9 comments:

animah said...

You need a disclaimer: "No cats were harmed in the taking of this photo". Then I can go awwwwww, guilt free.

Yusuf Martin said...
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pedant said...

Both the article and the speech can be found here:

http://www.arterimalaysia.com/2009/06/03/the-rainbow-warrior/

I don't see 50% word-for-word similarity. Not even 10%, except that they both quoted from the same Wiki entry.

katztales said...

I worry that I read things and then (weeks/months) later may think a turn of phrase is my own. So when something trips off the keyboard easily and looks very nice, I Google it just in case it's someone else's pearl. So far so good but the paranoia is there.

Amir Muhammad said...

I hate to break this to you, but you just stole the phrase "so far so good" from others.

Yusuf Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yusuf Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amir Muhammad said...

Just checked out the link. Hmm, I don't think the speech was "50% word for word." Both article and speech talked about the same bunch of paintings, and inevitably also had to talk about the other meanings of the exhibition title, as well as the artist's previous work, but other than that ...

Yusuf Martin said...

I have withdrawn my comments in the light of fresh views. Thank you all for pointing out my errors.

Yusuf