As a new academic year beckons, I have recently been reminded that plagiarism is on the up. If you go to the brilliant http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/ you will see plenty of, frankly shocking evidence of this fact. What is surprising to me, is how blatant and lazy this has become, some examples being lifted almost unaltered. I’d have thought they would at least try and conceal the deed in some way, which wouldn’t take much imagination. Now, this suggests to me that the perpetrator either thinks they’ll get away with it – a similar mentality is well established in the illegal downloading of music and films, and software piracy, the fact that one will get away with it seems enough to cloud one’s judgement – or, and I suspect this to be the probable case, they are stupid. Either way, this problem is unlikely to go away in a hurry, unless there are some high profile legal cases of the potential consequences. There is just too much temptation out there, Deviant Art, Flickr, The Behance Network, the list goes on.
As one involved in art education, I intend to make it one of my goals this year, to instil in each and every student I come into contact with, that plagiarism is possibly the only cardinal sin in our profession. That the difference between being influenced by, and lifting someone else’s ideas is a massive chasm, NOT to be crossed. And I urge anyone else, who is in education, to pass this post on, so as a collective of creative educators, we can help to assert a strong zero tolerance. And if we see any instances of this foul practice going on, we alert our community to it, and hound them out of business. All we have is our ideas and our style – it would appear that we need to guard it more closely.