Lets play devil’s advocate.
So we all know plagiarism is bad, against the rules, wrong… basically illegal, especially in our industry. Yes, we already know this; yet, even though we learn this at a young age and continue to hear it at the start of every new class, people still plagiarize. AND will continue to plagiarize. In my honest opinion, I think plagiarism is usually unintentional or just out of laziness. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what common knowledge is, especially with the internet age.
But what if it isn’t illegal in YOUR country? And then you attend college or have a career somewhere, where plagiarism IS illegal.
In February, businessweek.com posted a blog article on this exact issue. In summary: Penn State and UCLA MBA applicants rejected because of (drumroll…) plagiarized essays. “At Smeal, MBA Managing Director Carrie Marcinkevage says 10 percent of the 481 applications received in the first and second rounds had plagiarized essays, up from 8 percent for the full admissions cycle last year. Many of the new cases are international applicants from East Asian countries, where borrowing from published sources without attribution is not considered wrong, Marcinkevage says.” So, what about this? Should these students then get penalized?
I think so, although interesting to consider. “The increase comes despite a disclosure on the Smeal website notifying applicants that their essays will be reviewed for plagiarism.” There’s that fact and the fact that as stated above, plagiarism is always brought up at the start of EVERY new class and as a semester-long reminder by your professor and University, it is written on every syllabus. In other words: you have been warned.
Some basic examples of plagiarism: Lifting directly or indirectly from published material without attributing it; lifting quotes or information from a secondary source and presenting it as original to your piece; fabricating quotes or information from a source; presenting the identity of a source dishonestly; breaking a promise to a source or lying to a teacher/editor. These students knew to copy and paste the essay portions; now know you better attribute your information or be prepared for consequences. It’s not a matter of why and but, but more of a because they said so.