We've all done it
You hear a word, a turn of phrase, you make a few changes and wa-la! You think of it as your own. In some cases it does become your own and in others, you can find yourself embroiled in a lawsuit.
Plagiarism is the taking of another's words and making them your own. Michele #Obama supposedly borrowed words from Barrack who took them from Saul Alinsky who in Rules for Radicals wrote, "The standard of judgement must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be."
Michele said something like, "Barack stood up and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He discussed 'the world as it is' and 'the world as it should be.'
Where does one cross the line?
Last night, Melania Trump's words echoed Michele Obama's and It made me wonder, where does one cross the line?
We grow up communicating. First with a parent then friends and so on. Many of the things we say we have unconsciously borrowed from another person. So when does the act of borrowing become plagiarism? The rules are as follows.
1. To steal and/or pass off the ideas and/or words of another as one's own.
2. To use something created by another without crediting the source
3. To commit literary theft. Which is copying and pasting without crediting the source all the way to stealing one of my books and putting it up on a website without my permission. (This happens often.)
4. To present an idea as new and original when someone else created it.
More examples of plagiarism
If you write down words you hear from another and do not put them in quotes that's plagiarism. Even just changing the words but copying the sentence structure can be considered plagiarism if it can be proven that the sentence structure is exact.
Many years ago, as a writer and newbie to the world of websites, I quickly learned the rules of images and music:
1. Never take images (photographs and/or graphic arts) and copy and paste them into your website or anywhere else without permission from the creator.
2. Do not use another person's music on your website without their permission.
Even with the best of intentions, using someone else's work is never a good idea unless you have their written consent. If after a reasonable search you cannot find the owner, you can give credit to anonymous.
Do I think Melania wrote the speech? I don't know for sure, but probably not. Did Michele write her speech where she borrows from Barrack who borrowed from Saul? I doubt it. After much thought, I have come to believe the following:
*There is no sense beating a dead horse.