Your Opinion: Contributor raises plagiarism issues
Friday, February 8, 2013
I read Jeff Fleming’s letter, “Vegan diet and the flu” in a recent letters column. As an admirer of good writing, I was very impressed by his writing skills, so I decided to Google the main words in his title “vegan diet flu.”
I was even more impressed when I discovered how prolific a writer he is.
A five-minute check determined that he had his letter printed in the Bloomington Pantagraph (Illinois, I assume) under the pen name Braden Pellmett; the Brainard Dispatch (state unknown to me) under the pen name Brad Benedict; and the Montana Standard (town unknown to me) under the pen name Stanley Metz.
If I am mistaken and these are not pen names but actually different individuals, it does raise the issue of plagiarism. I don’t necessarily mean the illegal kind, but it’s unethical to present someone else’s writing as your own even with permission.
And while I can’t imagine myself ever buying into the theories advanced by this one prolific writer or several copying writers, I would give it far more consideration if the letters were in the writer’s own words, based on his own research, not simply copied from some website’s writing points.