NYTimes article on plagiarism

Plagiarism is one of my pet peeves. It does annoy me royally when people choose not to exercise their brain cells in writing down a few original lines on paper and instead simply copy someone else’s work. It’s not like you’re expected to produce a Pulitzer-prize-winning story. Sheesh.

Anyway, I came across this article (Dear Plagiarists: You Get What You Pay For by Suzy Hansen)via /. Nice read, although not as comprehensive an analysis as one might expect from a major newspaper like the NY Times.

These days, stressed-out perfectionists and lazy no-goods alike can Google their way to an astounding array of plagiarism Web sites. Many companies sell term papers, essays and book reports by the thousands, for as much as $250 a pop, all just a click and Mom’s credit card away, and all in the privacy of an undergraduate’s dorm room.

The sheer ubiquity of the sites, and what is now almost a lifetime of habitual Internet accessibility, might explain why the majority of college students […] don’t think copying a sentence or two from the Web is a big deal. Students are fuzzy on what’s cheating and what’s not. ”A lot of students will tell us, ‘It’s out there, it’s on the Internet,’ ” Diane M. Waryold, the executive director of C.A.I., said in a telephone interview. ”They say, ‘Isn’t it for public consumption?’ ”

I bought a prewritten paper on ”The Great Gatsby.” Dr. T. J. Eckleburg, ash heaps, stupid rich people — what could go wrong? I also ordered a custom paper, on what I innovatively titled ”The American Dream and ‘The Great Gatsby,’ ” to see if there was any difference between the two types of book reports.

Surprise: the prewritten paper, on the idea of the hero in ”Gatsby” (”What is a hero?” it begins, and later: ”Muscles do not make a hero”), coming in at a reasonable $35, was terrible.

Another surprise: the custom-written paper, delivered in three days for $180, a tenth of a community college’s annual tuition or the weekend allowance of a wealthy Ivy Leaguer, was a decent piece of work.

And compared with the standard paper […] the custom paper is worth coughing up more dough. A’s don’t come easily, after all.

But wait. So if you’re a cheap cheat, your paper will be shoddy, but believable. If you’re willing to dig deep for the custom-written papers, you might raise eyebrows. What a bind.

Read more here.


2 thoughts on “NYTimes article on plagiarism”

  1. sashi, what happened to the Star article that plagiarised your CCB: EURO 2004 piece? did they respond?

  2. nope. don’t think they will – i’ve heard from some journos that The Star would not consider it a case of plagiarism by the reporter – if anything, it’s the interview source at fault, so The Star apparently has nothing to do with it, and hence can ignore it. 😦

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