Technology changes plagiarism scandals

| Dec 5, 2019 | Copyright Law

Technology seems to change everything in time, and the rate at which it has developed over the last 50 years is nearly mind-blowing. It seems like nothing is left untouched. That even goes for plagiarism scandals.

Take, for instance, the accusations of plagiarism leveled on the author of a book called “The Girls.” The author’s ex-boyfriend said that he had written parts of the book in email messages, and that she stole them and added them to the work.

The response from the author, it seems, was to take those sections out. This way, he couldn’t claim that he had a right to any part of the book.

However, he had also written a screenplay. It was on his computer. He said that part of the book — which she did not change, and which did get published — was so similar to his screenplay that she must have stolen it from him.

Here’s where technology really changes things: The two broke up long ago. He said that she did not have a copy of his screenplay. It was just on his computer. If she saw it, he said, that meant she had hacked into the system and stolen it without his consent.

This is something that would have been impossible a few decades ago, but electronic documents are ubiquitous now, and many plagiarism complaints involve these files. How can things like remote access and file creation dates impact a case?

If you think someone has plagiarized your work, you may have a lot of important questions to ask, and you need to know what steps to take.