Thursday, July 27, 2006

Website on famous plagiarists

John P. Lesko has a website on plagiarism at

Both Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School and Martin Luther King have entries on the website. Michael Bolton, who lost $5.4 million for copyright infringement on an Isley Brothers song, also appears.

Lesko writes:

Why would a member of academia choose to lift the language of a source text and attempt to foist it off as his own? Why would someone choose to take such a risk with their academic career? Common sense just doesn't seem to offer an answer as to why a college professor would decide to plagiarize--particularly the work of the students he has been mentoring as happens on occasion.

Unless empirical observation teaches that there are not severe consequences to plagiarism, as illustrated by the Harvard Law cases.

Lesko discusses the numerous resources for students to copy texts for papers. Interestingly, there are similar resources for ministers to copy sermons.

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (October 17, 2005):

Given the harried schedules of most preachers (not to mention
university presidents) it is not surprising that some turn to homiletic aids. The Rev. Timothy Merrill is a senior editor at, a
subscription-based Web site at which preachers pay $59.95 per year for tools to help them craft a better homily.

He likened homiletics to a grocery store, with all the ingredients
for a good homily lining the store's aisles. "We just do the shopping for
preachers who are too busy and we bring those ingredients home and put them all on the kitchen table," said Merrill. "But once the ingredients are on the table, it's
up to you to mix them together, put them in the oven and come up with your final

The report also included the text:

The Rev. Donald Heet is a professor of homiletics (the study of
preparing and delivering sermons) at The Catholic University of America and president
of the Catholic Association of Teachers of Homiletics. He said if the original
homilist is not credited the audience does not know that the preacher they are
hearing is not the original source -- even if the two homilists have some kind of
sharing agreement. "There's no canon law about this, but at best it's
irresponsible and lousy preaching," he said.


Post a Comment

<< Home