This must see video records an incident in which a blogger kindly but firmly requests payment for his work from a newspaper who plagiarized an entire article from his blog . After discovering his blog post had been reprinted by a local newspaper without permission or credit, Duane Lester wrote a letter explaining the severity of the plagiarism offence, and he asked for $500 as payment for using his work. He then presented this letter to the newspaper in person. The video records the entire incident, and Lester walks away with a $500 check.
In a culture that seems to look for reasons to explain away or redefine plagiarism in an attempt to make meaning (or money?), it is evident that students are not alone in their struggle with understanding the nature and potential severity of plagiarism. In this video, the managing editor refuses to admit he plagiarized, but he pays the man. Some of his excuses even resemble student excuses. See if you can pick them out and name them in the comment section here on the blog.
This would be a great way to begin a discussion on plagiarism with students or other faculty. I am interested to hear your comments on this incident from all perspectives and departments as the video is also a good study in argument, sociology, linguistics, legal studies, psychology, communication…There is something here for everyone.
Student excuses heard by the managing editor – (Add yours to the comment section.)
Everyone is doing it
I didn’t plagiarize the whole thing
*My favorite – “I am 40 years older than you are.”