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‘Yesterday’s Plagiarism Is Today’s Way Of Earning A Living’

From the 2004 book Journalism Ethics:

Educational writer and consultant Dale Spender (2003) raised the issue of plagiarism in the tertiary education system in August 2003, when she asked, in an article in the Australian’s Higher Education supplement: “What’s the difference between Internet process and plagiarism?” She suggested that there was nothing wrong with searching the internet for material, cutting and pasting it to come up with something new, and calling it your creation. As she rightly pointed out, cutting and pasting is the modus operandi of the Internet, but without suitable attribution it is classic plagiarism. She maintained that it was only what she called ‘print-primed professionals’ who considered the action an offense. She wrote that by continuing to apply “the old rules” they have “failed to recognize that the medium has changed from print to digital.” In a remarkable piece of logic, Ms. Spender continued: “So instead of declaring that the sky has fallen in, it might be more helpful for professional educators to do some thinking, for the Internet is here to stay and yesterday’s plagiarism is today’s way of earning a living.” (pg. 266)

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