Plagiarism as a ‘legal phenomenon’

The word plagiarius is Latin and it means a child abductor or kidnapper. Thus, if one snatches the work of another who gave birth to it, figuratively speaking, then he becomes a plagiarist. In most universities or even in legal bodies, one with a reputation of dishonesty or having plagiarized is meted out with expulsion, dismissal or suspension. It is safe to say that most colleges or universities do not tolerate this form of dishonesty or cheating or theft. The internet should not be perceived as the culprit when it made it easy for law students or lawyers to do some ‘copy and paste’ and pass these off as their ideas, thoughts or expressions when in truth and fact, it belongs to someone else whom they did not even acknowledge for the ideas they put into their own academic work.

It is not as if it is too difficult to do proper attribution since there are standard rules being followed. And to even as much as argue that plagiarism is not plagiarism when it is not intentional but maybe accidental simply begs the question. It is hard to believe that law students when they become lawyers in the future would need to resort to ‘abducting’ thoughts, views, expressions – without permission or the appropriate attribution and acknowledgment. It is most unthinkable that this act can be committed by one who is already an associate justice of the Supreme Court. What even escapes comprehension is how conveniently the Supreme Court en banc can decide to exonerate their member who is found to have committed such a rather dishonorable act. That it even goes to the extent of turning the table on those they suspected to have made the revelation in public is like trying to fit square pegs in round holes. Such a desperate move has no future.
Prudence dictates that it should proceed with caution. It should not raise the Sword of Damocles to hover over the heads of those UP Law faculty threatened with show-cause order from the High Court. It should be too self-deprecating to do so. What the Supreme Court aims to achieve just might actually boomerang. It is totally unnecessary to show how powerful it can be. Perhaps, the case of the Prisoner’s Dilemma can be called to mind.

Because of what had been revealed, anti-plagiarists might even come up with more in the future. More decisions from the Supreme Court may have to be reviewed to check for cases of possible ‘abduction’ or ‘kidnapping’. Based on the matrix presented that inventoried those portions in the decided case that had been copied from someone else’s works (not just once nor twice), it is clear that there must have been such a deliberate attempt to pass off as one’s work what isn’t his, matter-of-factly.

From where I stand, it is rather earth shaking to hear of this legal phenomenon. No one knows for certain if this thing were not happening for quite a time now. It shalinl soon be told who else could have committed the similar act, one way or other. Meantime, some just and fair action ought to be undertaken to preclude the same thing from ever happening again.