The year 1971 would turn out to be a remarkable year for literature and the music industry. The previous year, British singer and songwriter, George Harrison, a former member of the Beatles,had released the hit song, “My Sweet Lord”; much to the acclaim of radio stations and music lovers worldwide. Expectedly euphoric with his Grammy nomination for “Record of the Year”, Harrison unanticipatedly received a summons to appear before a judge at the United States District Court, New York. He had been indicted for copyright infringement.
The basis of the summons revealed that in the writing of the song “My Sweet Lord”, Harrison had used melody similar to “He’s So Fine”, a 1963 song released by The Chiffons. In September 1976, the judge ruled against Harrison, dictating that the tunes for “My Sweet Lord” was in fact similar to that of “He’s So Fine”. However, having gone through the files presented for the case, the judge arrived at the conclusion that Harrison had carried out the duplication unconsciously – an act which is presently known as “unintentional plagiarism”.
The above scenario is a typical example of when information is taken from a certain source, without the writer attributing the ownership of that information to the primary source. Intentional or unintentional, plagiarism, generally, refers to the act of duplicating another’s information or the use of another’s content, without necessarily acknowledging the source of the information.The University of Oxford defines plagiarism as when ideas other than the author’s, are presented in a body of work, without the author acknowledging the source of these ideas.
There are several high profile cases that show how the effect of plagiarism can radically change the direction of progress an individual is moving toward.
On February 2013, long-serving German Education Minister, Annette Schaven resigned from her ministerial post on the allegation that she had been guilty of plagiarism. A Doctoral Degree recipient of the University of Duesseldorf, Faculty of the Institution voted on the removal of her PhD status on the grounds that some parts of her thesis had been deliberately copied without the relevant acknowledgement from the sources.
Two years prior to that, highly popular German Defence Minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, compelled to act in the view of public interests, resigned from his position as Defence Minister, in response to plagiarism allegations. Similar to Schaven, it was deduced that large parts of his dissertation contained information that had been acquired from other sources, without any attempt at accreditation.
Another victim of a plagiarism incident, Former Senator and Former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden stepped down from his 1998 presidential campaign after some contents from his speeches were deemed to be similar to contents from earlier speeches, and which he had not provided the required attribution.
Now, due to the wide dissemination of information, we have what is commonly acknowledged as “Internet Plagiarism”. This is presently, probably, the most common form of plagiarism in which content can be copied, over and over again, across hundreds of millions of web pages. Not only that, as information is exchanged continuously and on a large scale across the social media platforms, the occurrence of plagiarism in these locations is seen to be walking a thin line. It is thus very important to be able to identify the distinction between what could be widely distributed without any form of censure or vilification, and what would require the necessary attribution.
At Writing Peak, we continually focus on providing the best essays, dissertations and writings, while ensuring the non-existence of plagiarism in our content. Schedule a consultation with us today.