Plagiarism is a type of copyright infringement and a serious legal offense. Although most people know it from high school and college, it is not only a form of academic indecency. It is in fact the intellectual equivalent of stealth. Plagiarism has many manifestations, as it can concern anything one can invent or create. The year 2019 has a new set of the most interesting cases of plagiarism, and we collected them here.
- The root of evil
One of the most significant plagiarism cases of this year is related directly to academia—an environment that serves as an example and training camp for not stealing others’ works or infringing on copyright in any other way. Andrea Miller, who was the president of LeMoyne-Owen College, was punished and fired because of plagiarism and nepotism. The problem of copyright indecency only added up to corruption allegations towards Miller. According to the faculty of the mentioned university, he plagiarized Joel Osteen, a well-known pastor, in the speech he delivered to new first-year students. As a result, the Board of Trustees of the college voted for Miller’s resignation.
- This is what we call patchwriting
This case of 2019 is probably the most significant and the most scandalous one. Cristiane Serruya, a Brazilian novelist, allegedly plagiarized most of her latest book. She was sued by another contemporary author, Nora Roberts, who noticed the problem and filed a complaint. However, it is not the most phenomenal aspect of this case. The problem is, as Roberts claims, that not only did Serruya plagiarize her book, but she created a patchwork of 93 books of 41 authors. Collectively, these authors started a twitter campaign with the hashtag #CopyPasteCris, pinpointing the passages Serruya allegedly took from their oeuvre almost word by word. As a result, Serruya was found guilty. Also, all her novels were removed from Amazon.
- Plagiarism and journalism decency standards
This is yet another plagiarism scandal surrounding a novelist. This time it is Jill Abramson and involves her recent book Merchants of Truth. The author was publicly accused of recurring plagiarism in the publication. Multiple instances of plagiarism were found in articles of other authors that, apart from delivering the same idea, mimicked their syntax and sentence structure. Although it was a non-fiction book, whose format allows and even encourages citing colleagues, Abramson gave no credit to the sources of her inspiration. However, the most remarkable thing about this case is that Merchants of Truth aimed to protect and celebrate the standards of journalistic decency, which makes it an instance of irony.
- Fashion plagiarism
Sometimes, the method of “who wears it better” does not work to resolve a situation of suspiciously similar outfits, especially if one of the people is making a profit from it. This fashion plagiarism topic has a comedic element to it, as the person who filed a complaint about plagiarising her outfit had plagiarized it herself. The center of the scandal is Ariana Grande, who sued the fashion retail company Forever 21 for stealing the design of the costume she was wearing in her music video 7 Rings. When the issue went public, the pop singer was called out by Farrah Moan, a drag queen known for her appearance in Rupaul’s Drag Race. According to the drag queen, Ariana Grande’s designers did a bad job making an original and inspired attire for the singer and just copied her All Stars 4 costume instead, and the resemblance is uncanny.
- Plagiarism in TV
It is impossible not to know about this year’s HBO sensation about the circumstances and history of Chornobyl. The series follows the events of the catastrophe almost minute-by-minute, empathizing the tragic element of every level of the event. However, to deliver the emotions of a moment, HBO might have borrowed some intellectual property without asking. Thus, the first problem is in the very opening of one first episode of the show. It demonstrates visual artwork by a Ukrainian director, Andriy Pryimachenko, which he uploaded on YouTube in 2013.
Creativity is difficult to measure and plagiarism can be difficult to prove. However, if the resemblance is uncanny, it is hard to deny either. Plagiarism allegations leave a permanent stain on the reputation of a culprit. Thus, it may cost a person his or her entire career and name.