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Cosmologist
2012-Aug-01, 11:47 PM
"When you take stuff from one writer it's plagiarism; but when you take it from many writers, it's research."
Wilson Mizner 1938.

"Property in ideas is an insoluble contradiction. [He who complains of "theft" of his idea] complains that something has been stolen which he still possesses, and he wants back something which, if given to him a thousand times, would add nothing to his possession."
H. Rentzsch.
Source: Geistiges Eigenthum.

"In one word he told me the secret of success in mathematics: plagiarize; only be sure always to call it . . . research."
Tom Lehrer.

"To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism - to steal from many is research."
Steven Wright.

"Art is either plagiarism or revolution."
Paul Gauguin.

"If you steal from one author, it's plagiarism. If you steal from two, it's research."
John Burke.
Source: Bogue's Progress: The Fabulous Adventures of Wilson Mizner chapter 9, p. 167 (1975).

"PLAGIARISM, n. A literary coincidence compounded of a discreditable priority and an honorable subsequence."
Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914).
Source: The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce.

When a research professor takes pen in hand to do a book on Art he writes on and on without any evidences of the ability to stop. By and by out come five or six hundred more pages largely culled from the tomes of the research lads before him. On the title page of most of the books on Art should be printed, "If you steal from one person it’s plagiarism: if you steal from three persons it’s research.”
Joseph Cummings Chase 1938.

"PLAGIARIZE, v. To take the thought or style of another writer whom one has never, never read."
Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914).
Source: The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce.

"Self-plagiarism is style."
Alfred Hitchcock (1899 - 1980).

"He apparently followed the advice of Vida, who told beginners to steal from every source. It is the same in literature as in certain other walks of life: as the saying goes—the man who robs one bank is a common thief; the man who robs a hundred is a financier. The moral is, in literature, not to steal from one author, but to learn from many, Plagiarism is not only a crime, but a mark of stupidity, like robbing a country bank."
“Professional Writing” published in 1938 by a teacher at the University of Oklahoma.

Asa G. Baker quotes a librarian’s distinction between plagiarism and research: “If you wrote a paper and quoted without credit from a single book, it would be plagiarism; but if you quoted from three or four, it would be research.”
Word Study, a periodical from G. & C. Merriam Company which is best known for publishing the Merriam-Webster dictionaries. Dec 1938.

“Just remember,” says he, “if you steal from one man, it’s plagiarism. If you steal from several, it’s research.”
A simple rule-of-thumb for would-be movie scenarists. Bob Oliver 1941.

Remember why the good Lord made your eyes,
So don’t shade your eyes,
But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize -
Only be sure always to call it please ‘research’.
Lyrics from the 1950s song titled Lobachevsky by Tom Lehrer.

.. reminds me of Tom Lehrer’s song about the Great Lobachevsky. One axiom of the mythical mathematician’s scholarly work was that if you steal from one source you are committing plagiarism; if you steal from two sources, you are providing documentation; and if you steal from three or more sources, it is–presto–”original research.”
Los Angeles Times 1974.

Noclevername
2012-Aug-02, 12:07 AM
The difference depends on whether or not the judge had a good golf game before court. ; )

Moose
2012-Aug-02, 12:24 AM
One word: Citation.

During teacher's college, I once had to do a research project on student disability. Since I'm not a doctor nor qualified to speak authoritatively on medical matters, I made no statements whatsoever. 100% of the content was quoted. I saw my role as an editor, not an author.

Tobin Dax
2012-Aug-02, 12:55 AM
So are you researching or are you plagiarizing, Cosmologist? Is there a reason that half your quotes are obviously referring to the initial quote by Mizner?

Cosmologist
2012-Aug-02, 01:01 AM
All writing is essentially plagiarism isn't it? Does anyone here find that observation insulting? Do you think pointing out this fact is so heinous a crime as to be deserving of an infraction at this forum? Or replying to correct a moderator on such a matter a crime worthy of being banned? Hypothetically speaking ofcourse.

Moose
2012-Aug-02, 01:13 AM
Oh, it's one of those threads.

Cosmologist
2012-Aug-02, 01:20 AM
So are you researching or are you plagiarizing, Cosmologist? Is there a reason that half your quotes are obviously referring to the initial quote by Mizner?

I thought it rather amusing to point out clear cases of plagiarism in regards to a quotation claiming research is essentially plagiarism. Had to do a bit of research to uncover the "original" author. The truth is ofcourse that people were probably saying the same thing thousands of years before Mizner. His words are the earliest known recorded observation of this fact.

Noclevername
2012-Aug-02, 01:24 AM
Why don't you try not breaking the rules? It's like practice for not breaking laws. Give it a whirl some time.

R.A.F.
2012-Aug-02, 01:33 AM
All writing is essentially plagiarism isn't it? Does anyone here find that observation insulting?

Not insulting...just not supported by evidence.

Jim
2012-Aug-02, 01:37 AM
All writing is essentially plagiarism isn't it? Does anyone here find that observation insulting? Do you think pointing out this fact is so heinous a crime as to be deserving of an infraction at this forum? Or replying to correct a moderator on such a matter a crime worthy of being banned? Hypothetically speaking ofcourse.

Let me be very clear about this, the Rules do NOT allow you to argue/dispute/CORRECT moderation in-thread. You can Report a post, send a PM, or start a thread in Feedback. DO NOT ARGUE/DISPUTE/CORRECT MODERATION IN-THREAD.

This results in an infraction and a Suspension.

Solfe
2012-Aug-02, 01:44 AM
Why are you appealing to to authority to justify plagiarism? Are you unable to say "This is cool, this is fun, this is right" all on your own? So far you have only shared other peoples thoughts on the idea. For a "freethinker", you have a very herd mentality.

And as an aside, I can't help but notice there is a drumbeat to all of those quotations... the more you read, the more you observer, the more you exercise judgement in your choices of sources the closer you are original research. Those comments may be jaded cynicism or instructions to follow. I read them as instructions.

Fazor
2012-Aug-02, 01:52 AM
I know it's much after-the-fact given the current state of the OP's status, but as an artist, I find the idea that plagiarism is "silly" to be horrifying. I spend a *lot* of time writing the things I write for my personal website. It'd make me sick to see someone else presenting my words as their own.

starcanuck64
2012-Aug-02, 02:30 AM
Copying someone elses work verbatim is plagarism, going to the effort of sythesizing many sources and creating your own unique interpretation is adding to the current body of intellectual property, not stealing from it.

Automakers don't reinvent the wheel every time they develope a new car, the same can be said for artists and academics. Some of the most important work can be done in a library, museum, art gallery, etc... carrying forward in new directions what's already been accomplished.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Aug-02, 02:45 AM
The bit that amuses me most is the pair of quotations from Ambrose Bierce that don't support the OP's argument at all but which he obviously quoted because they refer to plagiarism in a cynical manner.

The point that the cynics miss is that there really is a difference between drawing on one person's work and drawing on the work of several. It's like "stealing" colours. If somebody works hard to create blue light, and you steal from that one person, you've got blue light. She's done the work to get the blue light; you grab the credit but you're not presenting us with anything we didn't already have from her. You weren't needed. That is plagiarism, and it's shameful.

But if you take the blue light from one person and red light from another, and mix them, you present us with magenta - something that neither of the other two had done. You've done original work! And the really clever part is, if you acknowledge the work done by the people who produced red and blue light in the first place, you've behaved decently.

Offhand, I cannot think of an instance where the coloured light metaphor or analogy fails. It's amusing that the cynics who slavishly quote or paraphrase Mizner miss the point so badly.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Aug-02, 02:47 AM
Copying someone elses work verbatim is plagarism, going to the effort of sythesizing many sources and creating your own unique interpretation is adding to the current body of intellectual property, not stealing from it.

Automakers don't reinvent the wheel every time they develope a new car, the same can be said for artists and academics. Some of the most important work can be done in a library, museum, art gallery, etc... carrying forward in new directions what's already been accomplished.

Okay, so you made the same point as me in half the words - and I've bolded "sythesizing" because it's the key concept that the cynics just can't see.

primummobile
2012-Aug-02, 02:09 PM
...creating your own unique interpretation

I think that's the key right there. Your interpretation of others' thoughts is what makes it a new idea and therefore your own. The music world is rife with examples of musicians doing their own interpretations of the works of others. When I listen to Hurt by Johnny Cash, I attribute that to Johnny Cash. The original version, by Trent Reznor, evokes completely different emotions because it's almost a different song, even though the lyrics are nearly identical.

Of course there are very few new ideas. But that doesn't mean that using an idea is stealing. Plagiarizing is passing the ideas of another off as your own. Cynical quotations from famous people don't change what it means. It just means that there are famous people who are cynical. You should probably spend a little more time appealing to your own mind and a little less time appealing to authority.

Strange
2012-Aug-02, 02:30 PM
The bit that amuses me most is the pair of quotations from Ambrose Bierce that don't support the OP's argument at all but which he obviously quoted because they refer to plagiarism in a cynical manner.

I don't think any of the quotations support the OP's argument. But then nothing much does. Or can.

starcanuck64
2012-Aug-02, 05:04 PM
Okay, so you made the same point as me in half the words - and I've bolded "sythesizing" because it's the key concept that the cynics just can't see.

You give an artist's interpretation though and explain it more fully.


I think that's the key right there. Your interpretation of others' thoughts is what makes it a new idea and therefore your own. The music world is rife with examples of musicians doing their own interpretations of the works of others. When I listen to Hurt by Johnny Cash, I attribute that to Johnny Cash. The original version, by Trent Reznor, evokes completely different emotions because it's almost a different song, even though the lyrics are nearly identical.

Of course there are very few new ideas. But that doesn't mean that using an idea is stealing. Plagiarizing is passing the ideas of another off as your own. Cynical quotations from famous people don't change what it means. It just means that there are famous people who are cynical. You should probably spend a little more time appealing to your own mind and a little less time appealing to authority.

Right, there has to be a shared area of knowledge that everyone draws on, the people who's previous work that you use as a base also drew on the work of people that came before them.

I think you can say plagarism poisons this relationship because it removes true credit, while honest sourcing adds to the overall structure.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Aug-05, 09:53 AM
I don't think any of the quotations support the OP's argument. But then nothing much does. Or can.

True. One can, of course, contend anything at all if one plays fast and loose with definitions.

"Everybody steals."
"I don't steal."
"Yes you do. You've got a car."
"Sure I've got a car. But I didn't steal it."
"How did you get it if you didn't steal it then?"
"I paid for it. I paid cash."
"Well there you are. Cash is just paper. Paper doesn't count. Thief."

Moose
2012-Aug-05, 10:24 AM
True. One can, of course, contend anything at all if one plays fast and loose with definitions.

"Everybody steals."
"I don't steal."
"Yes you do. You've got a car."
"Sure I've got a car. But I didn't steal it."
"How did you get it if you didn't steal it then?"
"I paid for it. I paid cash."
[...]

"Can one truly own anything? QED."

Pretty sure I've seen that one more often.

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-09, 03:09 AM
This is the way I learned it:

If the idea is original, claim it. Substantiate all the ideas of others which lead you to your own original thinking.

If you don't have an original idea for this paper, consider a different field of study.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Aug-09, 06:14 AM
This is the way I learned it:

If the idea is original, claim it. Substantiate all the ideas of others which lead you to your own original thinking.

If you don't have an original idea for this paper, consider a different field of study.

Yes.

DoggerDan
2012-Aug-09, 08:25 AM
Thank you, Paul. I've come to regard you as a succinct affirmation.

Gillianren
2012-Aug-09, 04:29 PM
Science needs those who can just repeat someone else's results, though; as long as that person is reproducing the experiment, that's the important bit.

Moose
2012-Aug-09, 11:16 PM
Science needs those who can just repeat someone else's results, though; as long as that person is reproducing the experiment, that's the important bit.

The confirmation itself is the added value.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Aug-10, 11:16 AM
Just like the first thing to do with new equipment is to repeat old experiments to confirm it's actually measuring what you think it's measuring.