Life in the Fast Lane



By 9:23 AM , , , , , ,

I'm fortunate enough to have witnessed the transition from typewriters to desktop computers, to laptops, to tablets and smartphones. Without a doubt, technology has made life so much easier, so much more convenient, and it has enabled us to work so much faster.

But there are downsides to the conveniences brought about by 21st century technology.

One of which is the unbelievably easy access to information. More specifically, to be able to use pertinent information from a source, copy them, and easily paste those words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs anywhere within your document.

I'm talking about plagiarism.

Comic taken from here.

Plagiarism, according to my friend, Mr. Webster, is defined as "an act or instance of plagiarizing" (to steal and pass off [the ideas or words of another] as one's own / use [another's production] without crediting the source).

Basically, it's a form of theft.

Growing up, my classmates and I were trained not to plagiarize. It was ingrained into our being that the act of plagiarizing was wrong; that there were consequences. I had heard of a lawyer who had been disbarred after it was discovered that a number of sentences and paragraphs in a paper he wrote back in college were ripped off from an academic journal.

Thus, I became very anal about properly citing my sources whenever I had to write a paper. I mastered the different kinds of citation (APA, MLA, what have you) and I would triple check my sources before submitting any of my academic requirements.

That's why I can't stomach the fact that other people can plagiarize others' works *just like that*.

The last few days, people have been discussing different issues that had recently surfaced: one of them being Senator Sotto's anti-RH Bill speech; parts of which were copied from a US blogger named Sarah.

Unfortunately, technology bit him on his derrière when people discovered the parts of his speech that sounded like something they had read before.

Fine: in all likelihood, he didn't write the speech himself. Like most politicians, he had people to write his speeches for him. And he would have no way to check if his RH Bill speech was plagiarism-free prior to delivering it.

Sadly, here's what Sen. Sotto's Chief-of-Staff had to say to the aforementioned blogger, Sarah. The note, except for his name and title, was written in lowercase. (Another one of my pet peeve's: wrong grammar and punctuation. But I'll reserve those thoughts for another entry.)

Facebook screen grab from this URL.

Now, there's further evidence to show that his speech had been lifted from more than one source.

Really, I've run out of words.

Why plagiarize? Why?

Simply put: if you're going to form an opinion (and propagate it), why: (1) steal someone else's opinion and pass it off as your own; and, 2) not acknowledge the source/s if you absolutely needed to quote someone?

It's understandable that one will need information from other sources. And if you're writing a speech that addresses a very important issue, such as the RH Bill, you'll need to beef up your speech with facts, figures, and the like. Most of the time, these facts and figures can only come from legal, medical or scientific journals, for example.

But is it beyond to difficult to write phrases such as "According to"?

With these two words (and the author's name or book title), it'll save you from headaches and heartbreak, from being held liable, and your reputation will be intact.

I'm not sure what Senator Sotto's planning to do now, but if I were him, the first thing I'd do is say goodbye to my speechwriters. ASAP.

P.S. On a somewhat funny note, I'd appreciate it if you didn't plagiarize this entry (or any of my other entries). Feel free to use my blog for reference, but I'd love it if I could be cited as the source; after all, whenever I refer to others' entries or posts, I make sure to credit those people properly. Ktnxbye!

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