Little Book of Plagiarism

Little Book of Plagiarism

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by Richard A. Posner
     
 

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A concise, lively, and bracing exploration of an issue bedeviling our cultural landscape–plagiarism in literature, academia, music, art, and film–by one of our most influential and controversial legal scholars. Best-selling novelists J. K. Rowling and Dan Brown, popular historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Stephen Ambrose, Harvard law professor Charles… See more details below

Overview

A concise, lively, and bracing exploration of an issue bedeviling our cultural landscape–plagiarism in literature, academia, music, art, and film–by one of our most influential and controversial legal scholars. Best-selling novelists J. K. Rowling and Dan Brown, popular historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Stephen Ambrose, Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, first novelist Kaavya Viswanathan: all have rightly or wrongly been accused of plagiarism–theft of intellectual property–provoking widespread media punditry. But what exactly is plagiarism? How has the meaning of this notoriously ambiguous term changed over time as a consequence of historical and cultural transformations? Is the practice on the rise, or just more easily detectable by technological advances? How does the current market for expressive goods inform our own understanding of plagiarism? Is there really such a thing as “cryptomnesia,” the unconscious, unintentional appropriation of another’s work? What are the mysterious motives and curious excuses of plagiarists? What forms of punishment and absolution does this “sin” elicit? What is the good in certain types of plagiarism?

Provocative, insightful, and extraordinary for its clarity and forthrightness, The Little Book of Plagiarism is an analytical tour de force in small, the work of “one of the top twenty legal thinkers in America” (Legal Affairs), a distinguished jurist renowned for his adventuresome intellect and daring iconoclasm.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Not all plagiarized authors will agree with Posner's conclusion that plagiarism is an "embarrassingly second-rate" offense, "its practitioners... pathetic," and that plagiarism should remain an ethical rather than a legal offense, punished by public shaming. But in a fascinating historical tour of the subject, he dismisses the idea that good art must be totally original. Shakespeare stole the plot of Romeo and Juliet, and Manet's Olympia is a reworking of Titian's Venus d'Urbino-both examples of what Posner calls "creative imitation." But focusing on Kaavya Viswanathan novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, Posner (Uncertain Shield), a judge on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and expert on intellectual property, says this was a particularly modern, market-driven form of plagiarism: Viswanathan was attempting to compete against Megan McCafferty in the chick lit market by appropriating her competitor's own words. Posner focuses a lot on student plagiarism and seems to think all students should be considered suspect; schools that don't subscribe to detection software like Turnitin, he says, are "na ve." Indeed, he believes publishers should, and will, begin to use such programs, concluding, optimistically, "We may be entering the twilight of plagiarism." It's unfortunate that Posner briefly brings politics into this important and timely discussion, superciliously accusing the so-called academic left of being "soft on plagiarism." (Jan. 16) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A notable author himself, Judge Posner considers accusations about folks from Doris Kearns Goodwin to Kaavya Viswanathan to figure out just what plagiarism is. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
On Richard A. Posner:

“He writes with a flair that puts most journalists to shame and a depth of knowledge that puts most professors to shame.”
–Alan Ryan, The New York Times Book Review

“Posner has a voracious intellectual curiosity and a discipline for work rivaled by almost nobody in the United States.”
–Alan Wolfe, The New Republic

“An intellectual force to be reckoned with . . . he can lay claim to the title of pre-eminent judicial theorist of our time.”
–Leonard H. Becker, The Nation

“He writes with a refreshing parsimonious intensity.”
–Robert S. Boynton, The Washington Post

“A marvel. He is hyperactive like Harold Bloom, audacious like Christopher Hitchens, and a practical man of the world like Alan Greenspan.”
–David Brooks, The New York Times Book Review

“A polymath, a one-man think thank.”
–Gary Rosen, The Wall Street Journal

“Posner has not only the lively intelligence one expects of a public intellectual, but also extraordinary energy and resourcefulness.”
–Gertrude Himmelfarb, Commentary

“A felicitous writer with a marvelously caustic wit . . . a pleasure to read.”
–Eric Alterman, The Nation

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307496539
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/12/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
128
File size:
2 MB

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