Eight Instances Of Serious Plagiarism You Never Heard About.

01:51 13 August in Culture, No Need To Study, Thoughts
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Okay, so plagiarism isn’t exactly the sexiest scandal in the world. It’s nowhere near as sexy as a sex scandal and it’s not exactly the stuff Scandal episodes are made of. It’s hard to see Olivia Pope in one of her immaculate white pantsuits striding into an office and saying something like, “We’re gladiators! We don’t help plagiarists!” But that doesn’t mean that plagiarism doesn’t happen or that it can’t cause as much of a stir as other, juicier scandals cause. The thing you need to keep in mind if you’re serious about plagiarism, is to make sure to hire No Need To Study for your essay writing so you never have to worry about plagiarism.

Plagiarism is probably as old as civilization itself. At some point, a cave painter probably looked over at what his neighbor was doing and said, “Yeah, I like that. I’ll just do that.” Though…he probably grunted it. Or said it? Who knows; sources are unclear as to whether our cave-dwelling ancestors spoke a language like ours. It doesn’t matter. The point is that as long as there has been “media” of some sort, there has been plagiarism. Even Aristotle, the great philosopher and teacher, was accused of plagiarizing in his “Asclepiades of Pergamum.” You’ve read that one, right?

More notable instances of plagiarism start to emerge in the 1880s. Even Helen Keller, who most of us assumed was above all reproach, was accused of plagiarizing a story called The Frost Fairies in a story she wrote called The Frost King. Though she was ultimately acquitted of the charge, she herself said that she might have read the story, internalized it, and used it for inspiration when writing her own story, without realizing it. That’ll give any writer a metaphysical crisis for the rest of her life. Thanks, Helen.

 

What other significant instances of plagiarism throughout have you never heard about? Here are eight:

  1. Vice President Joe Biden cheats in school. We know Joe Biden as loveable, if goofy Vice President of the United States. He wasn’t always that guy, however. According to a story run by The New York Times in 1987, Biden plagiarized a paper during his first year of law school. He scraped the content from an article for the law review, and, again, because this was before the days of the internet, it was not discovered until much, much later. At the time that this plagiarism came to light, he might have had dreams of serving as the Vice President, but he was “just” the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee and he claimed that the story was only dredged up to make him look bad, even going so far as to say that he hadn’t really intended to cheat, and that if he had, he wouldn’t have made the plagiarism so obvious. Are you considering a political career like Biden? Don’t get caught out, hire No Need To Study to write you 100% original essays and help you with your online classes.

 

  1. Even Putin plagiarizes. Anyone who has even been on the search for movies or television shows that they can illegally download knows that Russia has some great websites for that. It turns out that it isn’t just the websites that are stealing their content—it’s the leaders, too. Back in 2014, it was revealed that many high-ranking officials, including bear-riding Putin himself, plagiarized their doctor theses when they were in university. Putin’s thesis, defended at the St. Petersburg State Mining Institute, was mostly borrowed from a textbook written in 1978 by David I. Cleland and William R. King, who taught at the University of Pittsburgh. What “borrowed” exactly means is that the text is the same, but no references are ever given to the original authors and no indications are made that the writing itself is not Putin’s.

 

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr. probably stole his research papers and dissertation. At least, according to a ruling in 1991. While that doesn’t negate all of the good work that he did for race and racial issues in American, it does call into question whether or not he deserves to be referred to as a “doctor.” The court determined that he plagiarized some research papers during his academic career (including his doctor dissertation), and some of his speeches. That said, the committees that oversaw the investigation didn’t find the plagiarism to be so egregious or perhaps even intentional enough to even consider revoking MLK’s degree. According to scholars who have studied King’s writings from the time he was in high school to the time he obtained his doctorate, it’s likely that he didn’t realize, like Viswanathan claims to not have realized, that he was internalizing writing and simply reusing it in his own work.

 

  1. The Da Vinci Code and a bunch of other books. You may have heard someone (probably a writer) say that if you steal writing from one person, it’s plagiarism. If you steal from lots of people, it’s called research. If that’s the case, then Dan Brown can probably just be accused of “research.” But let’s call a horse a horse—six separate people came forward to accuse Brown of stealing structure, themes, ideas, and events from their works. These include Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, who accused Brown of stealing the underlying structure and themes of their book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Though a judge eventually threw the case out, citing that Baigent and Leigh claimed their book to be nonfiction and Brown’s was clearly fictional, and could therefore not be plagiarized, it’s hard to ignore that Brown named one of his characters Leigh Teabing—Teabing being an anagram of Baigent. So it’s not a case of strict academic plagiarism; that doesn’t make it any less interesting.

 

  1. Kitāb al-Hayawān and the Book of Animals. In the world of academia, this is the earliest record instance of plagiarism. The Book of Animals was called, by several scholars of the day—that day being somewhere around the year 900—as “little more than plagiarism” of the Kitāb al-Hayawān. Later scholars have suggested that it’s unlikely that the author of the Book of Animals was even aware of the other book. Though it ultimately comes to not, since only your friends who are philosophy majors have read either or both of these two books (or will at least pretend that they did), it is interesting that even some of the world’s earliest academic literature has been touched by an accusation of plagiarism.

 

  1. Alexander Graham Bell, biography of. Anyone who is a little bit hipster will tell you that the only reason we remember his name and not that of Elisha Gray (that’s right, your hipster friends even know the name of the other guy), is because Bell got to the patent office before Gray, despite the fact that he had probably stolen and/or copied the designs from Gray, who is obviously the superior inventor. To the winner goes the spoils. What your condescendingly informed friend might not be able to tell you is that one of the most popular biographies of the inventor, written by James A. Mackay, was heavily plagiarized. Much of Mackay’s other work, including biographies of Mary Queen of Scots, William Wallace, John Paul Hones, and Andrew Carnegie were also plagiarized. Who knew that enough people were actually writing about history for there to be plenty of plagiarize off of? And that it could go unnoticed for decades?

 

  1. Marks Chabedi and the plagiarized thesis. If you don’t remember this name, it’s probably because plagiarism scandals just don’t get the kind of press that they deserve. When Marks Chabedi submitted his doctoral thesis to the University of Witwatersrand (that’s in South Africa), no one realized that it was copied nearly word for word from the thesis of an American woman named Kimberly Lanegram. She found out and being the tenacious defender of her thesis even after earning her own degree, reported him to the university. His degree was revoked and he was fired from the position he’d earned after getting his degree. It’s a harsh but very true reality for those who get caught cheating, kids.

 

  1. Kaavya Viswanathan plagiarizes and apologizes. One of the more recent instances of academic fraud saw Kaavya Viswanathan called out for majorly plagiarizing in her novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life. She was a student at Harvard at the time and the plagiarized sections were found to come from two of Megan McCafferty’s books, which Viswanathan claimed to have read and “internalized” during high school. She apologized, stating that she hadn’t meant to copy and simply must have just used McCafferty’s words without realizing she was doing it. The claim didn’t end up holding much water, however, when it was discovered that other parts of Viswanathan’s book were taken from a Sophie Kinsella novel.

 

 

These are only a few of the higher-profile plagiarism scandals over the years, but they all tell the same story: if you plagiarize, they will find you, and they will kill you. Wait, sorry—that’s from Taken. The point is, it was already easy for people to find out if others were plagiarizing their work, even before the internet. Now, it’s easier than ever to get a plagiarized paper, sure, but it’s also easier than ever for the original writer of that paper or a professor to find out that what you’ve turned in is plagiarism. Why risk it? Especially if you’re serious about climbing high in the world, work with No Need To Study for all your non-plagiarized essay needs!

 

OR just say no to plagiarism, kids. And drugs. But mostly amateurish plagiarism.

Kelly Reynolds-Seraphin

cs1@noneedtostudy.com

Hi, I am No Need To Study's writing department head and I also wear the hat of team leader for customer support @NoNeedToStudy. I like puppies, rainbows and I sort of am a computer whiz so I help with computer courses and classes too. I write blogs at times about interesting trends and developments in the MOOC space. My claim to fame? I wrote some of the first lines of code that ended up being what VK.com is now. (Un)Official New York Soul Cycle and Flybarre ambassador.

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