Posted by Praveen

Plagiarism rules the roost

This has been a season in which plagiarism and controversies related to it have hodged the limelight. First came the case against celebrated author Dan Brown, alleged of copying parts of ''Da Vinci code'' from ''The Holy blood and the holy grail'', written by two unknown guys. This case can be seen as no more than a publicity stunt by these 2 authors. And it has to be said that they somewhat succeeded in that since their book sold a large number of copies after this. But, ultimately, and rightly so, Dan Brown won the case.
Last week, a young Indian writer, Kaavya Viswanathan, was caught in the eye of a storm in USA. Her national bestseller ''How Opal Mehta got kissed, got wild and got a life'' was found to have striking similarities with teen fiction writer Megan McCafferty's books '' sloppy firsts'' and ''second helpings''. Kavya, reacting to this allegations, said that the similarities were 'unintentional and unconscious'. According to her, she had grown up on these books and they had influenced her so much that the language and situations accidently came to her pen. But the publishers of McCafferty's books have refused to buy this explanation.They said that there are more than 40 passages in kavya's book, which use similar language or situations. Infact the stories are almost similar. According to latest reports, the publisher's have withdrawn her book from the stores. The literary world is waiting with bated breath to know what happens in this case.

And now comes plagiarism of a different kind. The affected party this time is none other than the crusader, the author of this blog. Two days back, my good friend Akhil send me a blog link and told me, ''Hey buddy, Checkout this link''. The blog name was mexxian. I started reading and found out that the topic was similar to my last post in this blog, the one about my 1st vote. As I read on, to my astonishment, I realised that these were the same things that I wrote in my blog. Yes, the post was completely copied. I can't explain the kind of feelings that came to my mind. I was hurt deeply because this was a post which I valued most because it dealt with one of the most important moments in my life. And this guy unashamedly copied this and made it his own. The most astonishing thing is that he posted this in his blog, barely 4 hours after I published this.
Then I wrote a pretty long comment in his blog explaining how this whole thing is against the spirit of blogging and how it hurt me deeply. My friends Swapna, Meenu and Akhil gave me a lot of support during that time. The next day he removed his post and send me a message in orkut - ''I wrote only what I felt. Hope u got my mail''. But until this moment, I haven't got any mails. Also what puzzles me is that he could still say that he wrote what he felt, when all he did was to blatantly a post from my blog and add 2 sentences of his own. I hope he clears the doubt soon. If u watch closely, u could see some paralells between the reaction of kavya and this guy. And this made me think about a theory that ''when caught, all copycats act alike.i.e. Copycats copy other copycats.''
Last but not the least, a special thanks to Akhil for bringing this to my notice. Otherwise, atleast somebody would have thought that am a copycat[which according to me isone of the worst possible ways to describe an individual]. Be original...That is the mantraa...Lets all fight plagiarism together......well, this is only a tip of the iceberg that is plagiarism. If we move on to films and music, I would get topics to write on forever. So am stopping here....waiting for ur valuable comments
with love, your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 29, 2006 at Saturday, April 29, 2006 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



hey..ur conclusion...."copy cats copy copy cats"...thts was gud

1:01 AM

a rejoinder...
nice to see another angry young man boiling his blood over the plagiarism row. but...
1. dan brown's 'the da vinci code', which came out in 2003 sold in huge volumes (over 40 million copies) much before the copyright infringement case was filed by michael baigent and co. so, the case was not just a publicity stunt, though i agree the sale of 'code' has continued at the same pace even after three years of publication and that the ensuing release of film version will gain a lot from the case.
2. plagiarism is applicable also to 'facts' and not just fiction. it's always admirable to express an opinion in blogs and to substantiate it with samples. but unauthorised access of information from all websites, especially news/news-related websites including harvard crimson, is a breach of copyright acts. so, knowingly or unknowingly, by quoting the comparisons of 'opal...' and 'sloppy...' you have ended up in plagiarism! and... ignorance is not an alibi to crime! so, next time, no meow meow.

2:48 AM

Woah! Never thought I would see plagiarism among bloggers! Especially those who keep a low profile...
Good thing you stood fast...copying should not be tolerated...

7:52 AM

@ sk
thnku 4 enlightening me on these things.
actually, i came to know about this plagiarism case against brown only recently. Thts y i thot it was a publicity stunt.

and nxt time i wud be careful not to quote from any website. I thot tht once we mention the name of the source, it won't amount to plagiarism. so lemme corrrect tht gonna remove those quotes....
thnku again 4 bringing this to my notice...

10:05 AM

you said it man..its sad..hope people realise it and move on to be more original..

11:49 AM

Blatant copying(like copying your blog post) should be avoided. I agree

On the other hand,it is very difficult in the online environment to be 100% original.

even your blog has got many images photographed/drawn by other people :)

5:51 PM

Plagiarism is an excuse for using someone else's creativity 'cause you're not creative yourself!

Praveen, I din't know that Holy Blood & Holy Grail stuff was a publicity stunt. & now I'm convinced.

"copycats copy copycats" is a really nice statement to make. :)

12:38 AM

hello... came here via yer orkut bloggers commun post... the guy who stole or whatever from you seems to have absolutley no readers... no comments anyhow... you probly made his day... his life by advertizing... anyway, in my opinion, copying is a kind of desperate loser thing to do alright, but im a hardcore music pirate and watch and copy lotta movies too... and my excuse is, as friend o mine varun says about lending music, "spread the love"...

11:21 AM

It has been my experience that Indians, and I don't mean to be derogatory here, because I'm an Indian too, are the ones who get caught at plagiarism the most. Be it for copying and pasting a term-paper and passing it off as their own, or for something as big as this Kaavya lady's works. I was told by my advisor that if there are more than 3 consecutive words that are not mine, I needed to put the entire thing in quotes.
Don't get me started on ARR's works and how many times other MDs plagiarize his work.
Atleast this time your friend was able to find out that your work was plagiarized. The internet is huge. Plagiarism is bound to happen, and you may never know that somebody copied and pasted your work as theirs.

10:07 PM

Well, Praveen - I am definitely not in favour of plagiarism though. I presume imitation is not a crime of its kind. More often than not, I tend to repeat some impressive statements that my friend makes. Those things that lay there deep down are prone to be imitated. Yes, I do agree it hurts.

I think there are all possibilities that the person who you think copied your blog, might have been original as well. Not that we are at lack of words in a language - but when it comes to certain emotions, we tend to think alike. And, yes, we tend to think alike even in terms of words. So, bringing plagiarism to notice - is worthwhile - but suing the author for d same reason is quite close to injustice, according to me.

Rationally, we all tend to copy. Let us not hold our heads high without scrutinizing the reality of those who are fighting. In your case, I do not have a lot of information.

But in Kaavya's case - there are a lot of other factors like - she got 50 million advance, a 19 year old, an Indian who has made it to the headlines.

Please read this:

I hope that gives you enough room to think by looking at the other side of the spectrum.

10:05 AM

Looks good! Well done. All the best!
- d
spaghetti alla carbonara

5:44 AM

Post a Comment