Copy and Paste…

Late in the afternoon, Lisa finally had a chance to Google for information on “problem-based learning” for her course assignment due the next morning. Though she was tired, she couldn’t help but wonder when she noticed the same article appearing on the first two websites was almost identical word-for-word. Both websites were for education courses being taught by two different faculty at two different academic institutions located in different states. Curious, she emailed the authors of both papers concerning her observation and printed out a copy of both pages to bring with her to class the next morning.

Consider each of the following questions and evaluate the case study:

1. What is the action or inaction that is the cause for concern?


2. Who or what may be affected?


3. How will they be affected? (i.e., what are the possible consequences?)


4. Are there any laws, regulations written or unwritten that may apply?


5. What actions might be taken and what would the consequences of these actions be?


6. Can anything be done to prevent this from reoccurring or to minimize the severity of the consequences?


Basis for Case Study 5
There are many examples of alleged plagiarism. Harvard undergraduate author, Ms. Kaavya Viswanathan was accused of plagiarism and copyright infringement. The resulting publicity uncovered multiple offenses and ultimately led to the withdrawal of her first novel from the market by her publisher, Little Brown & Company.


Zhou, David. (2006) Harvard Crimson. April 23. “Student’s Novel Faces Plagiarism Controversy.”

Students aren’t the only ones who commit plagiarism. In 2000 a college student doing research on the internet discovered marked similarities between speeches given by two college presidents, one speech having been delivered more than ten years earlier. The alleged plagiarist ultimately acknowledged the close similarities between the speeches but argued that someone else had prepared his speech for him. Interestingly, the same individual came under fire subsequently for alleged plagiarism.

J. Basinger. (2000) Chronicle of Higher Education. May 19. “The Similarities of 2 Presidents’ Papers.”