Thursday, November 13, 2008

plagiarism and copyrights...

So I got my first plagiarized paper today and I was so pissed and cheated that I had to stop grading papers. But then I started thinking about the nature of plagiarism and the ideas of intellectual property at large.
Is it weird to have mixed emotions about the cornerstone of Western education? We preach to these students that copying without giving credit is wrong wrong wrong, but is it really that bad? It all comes back, I think, to the story of bootstraps and buckling down. Doing work, getting credit, getting paid, all that stuff. However, it's all tied to the idea of getting what you deserve. The capitalist-anti-socialist idea of what's mine is mine, goddamn it.
What's an alternative? Do we just throw the book out the window and wish for a time when everyone shares, everyone gets money, there are no poor artists, and we all hug instead of fight? Or do we say that college is a time for your own thoughts, your own expressions, your own, individual ideas? Maybe that's the answer, but by now I've forgotten the question...


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