Saturday, August 08, 2015

When copying someone else without attribution, make sure your perceived abilities are commensurate

A typical attempted defense to accusations of plagiarism is "lack of intent" to copy the work of another. If plagiarism is copying without attribution, intent does not matter.

In 2010, there was an interesting case of lawyer plagiarism (wherein a lawyer submitted briefs to a bankruptcy court that were copied from someone else's legal work), which was covered in a variety of places:

The Irreverent Lawyer noted:

Iowa Bankruptcy Court Judge Paul Kilberg found one lawyer’s briefs to be of such “unusually high quality” that his suspicions were aroused enough to ask the lawyer, Peter Sean Cannon, to certify the work was his.

To his credit, Cannon fessed up, admitting he had “exceeded permissible fair use without attestation” when he borrowed from a 2005 article by lawyers Wiliam H. Schrag and Mark C. Haut, “Why Professionals Must Be Interested in “Disinterestedness” Under the Bankruptcy Code.”

The court concluded that 17 of the 19 pages of legal analysis “were verbatim excerpts from the article.” The ethical rules implicated involved dishonesty; false statement of fact or law to a tribunal; and false or misleading communication about the lawyer or lawyer’s services.


**As noted elsewhere on IPBiz (JEB Stuart goes to India), when copying without attribution don't ever include the bio of the true author.


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