AKA Abraham Bacoln

Understanding unintentional plagiarism
April 14, 2009, 10:19 am
Filed under: tidbit

I’m sure you’ve all read the stories about someone caught touting a tune or turning a phrase that wasn’t theirs in the first place, and the guilty party says, when confronted with the evidence, “I must have seen or heard it before but I have no memory it.”

Over a year ago I wrote in my notebook what I thought was an original observation: What’s the point of remembering anything? You’re just going to forget it eventually. Not particularly witty or inspiring, but it seemed specific and appropriate to how I myself function.

About a month back I was re-reading some book from my collection and I came across the same sentiment with almost exactly the same wording. It became immediately apparent that I myself had performed an act of unintentional plagiarism on a small scale. I finally recognized that some of those people featured in copyright fiascos or lyrical lawsuits may not have been lying about being unaware of what they were doing.

I would love to tell you the name of the book in which this quote was featured but … I … ah, I’ve kind of forgotten which one it was.

2 Comments so far
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Just one of many reasons I despise the current state of US IP law.

Comment by Atox

That’s the fact, Jack.

(Ecclesiastes 1:9-14 NIV) What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. {10} Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. {11} There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow. {12} I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. {13} I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! {14} I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Comment by Seattleforge

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