One of the topics we talk about a lot in orientations is plagiarism. Sometimes students wonder aloud just how big a deal it is. A recent news event shows that even if you can get away with it for awhile, when you are caught it’s a major problem.
NPR News Story about the event
This article from NPR spells out the original situation once the plagiarism was discovered and the initial responses by both the people involved and other people who discovered the story on the Internet.
As it was shown that the magazine had operated this way (acting as if the Internet was all public domain and stealing content) for years, it was unable to stay in business as the publication and even its advertisers were swept up in a wave of angry social media. The magazine has now completely ceased operation as reported in this news article.
Statement as reposted
Although the magazine took down its Internet site, before it did it posted a statement about the situation. This text was reprinted on several sites and appears to be genuine.
This whole mess also drives home two points about citation as well.
- Just changing a few words around does not cut it. If you are using someone else’s idea you have to give them credit if it’s an academic paper or pay them if it’s anything else.
- Note the date you reference a website. They can disappear.
by Sarah S. Uthoff, Reference Librarian