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Your Opinion: Contributor raises plagiarism issues

Dear Editor:

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.

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