I have over time developed a habit of browsing the internet in the morning, just to check on what is making news around the world. This habit has slowly evolved into some kind of morning ritual; to which I am stoutly devoted.
In the course of my morning ritual this week, I came across an interesting article on the Zimbabwean health situation. In fact, I had, prior to reading this article, researched on the topic myself.
But this particular article left me dumbfounded. Some uncouth and unprofessional so called journalist had actually lifted an article that I had written for a Zimbabwean publication, and credited himself as the author.
A plethora of emotions overwhelmed me.
I was overcome by anger, shock, fury and, most of all, shame. I was clearly robbed, but I had no recourse as I could not report the matter to the police.
Plagiarism is a crime.
Those who plough through the voluminous texts of the law would probably show me a section of the constitution that criminalizes plagiarism. On a personal note, I felt robbed and wronged because someone had taken credit for, and probably earned money, my efforts and research.
Plagiarism by definition is stealing somebody’s work or idea and passing it as your own. Call it all the fancy names you like, bootlegging, imitation, piracy, lifting or copying; the fact is that this sleazy and offensive practice must be punishable.
The music industry is currently awash with cases of numerous artists who have plagiarized others’ work, and word on the street is that the late Gloved One wasn’t entirely the brains behind his single, ‘This Is It’.
One of the places where plagiarism is rampant is the university. The temptation to impress the lecturers and professors with a killer comment, just to show one’s grasp of the topic at hand, is so great that many varsity students ‘forget’ to credit the rightful owner of the topic or quote.
Of course, if varsity students aren’t copying from textbooks then it must be from a colleague. A journalism student once said that she copies from one of her colleagues because she has a knack for presenting her facts in a rightful way.
But the fact is that plagiarism kills independent thought. One resorts to a parasitic lifestyle of feeding off other people’s intelligence, ideas and work, thus stunting their development and independent thought. Truly the world would be a boring place to live in if all of us were the same.
Let’s put some originality to life and take out the plagiarism mindset.