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A plagiarism (via French plagiaire , intellectual property thief ' in latin Plagiarius , kidnapper, kidnappers' ) is the arrogance of foreign intellectual achievements. This can include the adoption of foreign texts or other representations (e.g. newspaper, magazine articles, photos, films, sound recordings, music), foreign ideas (e.g. inventions , design , scientific findings, melodies) or both at the same time ( e.g. scientific publications , works of art, novels). Plagiarism can, but does not have to, violate the law: The adoption of foreign texts not marked as a quotation is usually a violation of copyrights . The adoption of foreign ideas can be a violation of patent rights or design patents. In science, plagiarism can violate examination regulations, employment contracts or university law. There is a gray area between the unlawful takeover of other people's intellectual achievements and the legitimate takeover of ideas that are free or that have become free, where plagiarism is considered legal, but not legitimate.


The poet Martial , who lived from the recitation of his verses and at whose time there was still no institutionalized form of protection of third-party property (copyright), accused his poet colleague Fidentinus of wrongly performing his poems as his own. Martial equates his books with freed slaves in an epigram and insults his fellow poets as plagiarius (literally: robbers , slave traders) (Epigrams 1, 52). The term plagiarism goes back to one of the oldest known copyright infringements in Rome in the first century AD. In contrast to copying, for example , other cultures and ages also largely outlawed the plagiarism of a work.

However, it was quite common in music in the Baroque, for example , to incorporate not only popular parts of earlier compositions, but also those of others, into new works using the technique of so-called parody , without explicitly pointing it out. One can assume that those “quoted” felt flattered to know that their works were so popular - at least better-known composers with a secure status. In the German-speaking area up to approx. 1700 it can be assumed that plagiarism took place in many places without a suitable authority - in the form of the learned public, for example - having named or condemned these intellectual takeovers.


The plagiarism is not to be confused with the quote . A generous citation privilege applies especially to science ( Section 51 UrhG). It allows the republication of foreign texts in one's own academic work, but always requires the source to be cited (citation burden, § 63 UrhG).

In science , unlike in literature , the paraphrasing of a text protected under Section 2 (2) UrhG or the unmarked adoption of an argument without an indication of the origin is understood as plagiarism. A distinction is made between total plagiarism, in which a complete text is adopted, and partial plagiarism, as well as between verbal plagiarism, which adopts formulations exactly, and plagiarism of ideas , which is more difficult to uncover , which merely adopts thoughts without citing their originator. In addition, there are special forms such as auto plagiarism (self-plagiarism), in which one's own work is used several times. In order to justify themselves, those accused of plagiarism often admit to having read the underlying text “at some point” but then forgetting the original.

Legal counterfeit products are to be distinguished from plagiarism, especially illegal product piracy .

The detection of plagiarism or copyright infringement is particularly difficult if third parties claim the authorship of certain basic ideas and topics, but not their fictional-literary implementation, in the case of successful works by fiction bestselling authors, and justify this with non-fiction books written by them. It is argued that it is not plagiarism because the books have very different objectives. In addition, the novelist did not actually use the other person's work in such cases, rather the ideas and topics expressed there only inspired his fictional story. However, courts often discuss such allegations, as it usually involves a lot of money.

Related to plagiarism are sequels of successful literary works that are not authorized by the publisher who holds the exploitation rights for the original work. A relevant example is Jim Williams' Doctor-Zhivago continuation Lara's daughter (1994), who had to be taken off the market in 1999 after two court decisions.

Another point to be distinguished from conscious plagiarism is accidental double creation .


The Duden spoke of the “unlawful imitation and publication of an artistic or scientific work created by someone else; Intellectual Property Theft ”. Currently, the Duden has expanded the term so that parts of a work that have been explicitly taken on unlawfully lead to plagiarism: “Unlawful appropriation of thoughts, ideas, etc. another in the artistic or scientific field and their publication; Intellectual Property Theft ”. He explains the verb “plagiarize” as “falsify, imitate, copy, borrow, take over; (educational): to commit plagiarism; (coll.): fake, imitate; (derogatory): mimicking ".

Legal Definitions

Plagiarism can, but does not have to, violate a law: copyright , patent law or design law . In Germany, the term plagiarism is not included in laws as a legal definition . "According to the general opinion, plagiarism is a copyright infringement in which someone consciously assumes the authorship of someone else". The legal scholar Marcel Bisges has examined the term plagiarism in detail and comes to the conclusion that there is a general language as well as a literary as well as a legal understanding of this term. For legal considerations, only the legal understanding in the form of a violation of copyright (illegal redesign or unfree processing) is decisive.

According to one opinion, plagiarism only means the failure to indicate the source when the work is otherwise permitted. According to this opinion, a plagiarist is anyone who, as the owner of a right of use, claims their own authorship or who does not indicate the quoted work in the case of permissible quotations. Another view considers plagiarism to be given if someone uses a copyrighted work without permission (regardless of whether it is unchanged, redesigned or edited) and presents it as his own.

According to § 2 Abs. 2 UrhG "personal intellectual creations" are protected. "It is not any personal intellectual achievement, but a personal intellectual creation" is protected. It must stand out from a "routine performance". "The author must have created something that contains more of his own than an achievement that can generally be achieved by anyone with a comparable education and talent". Only then does the protection through labeling or citation requirements apply ( Section 51 UrhG).

Knowledge and intent

Plagiarism is the appropriation of a third-party copyright law, so that plagiarism violates the right to recognition of authorship according to § 13 UrhG. If the infringer publishes the work, this constitutes an interference with the exclusive right of publication of the author ( § 12 UrhG). Unconscious plagiarism is present if the infringer does not subjectively recognize a copyright infringement. The intent of the infringer does not play a role in the offense of copyright infringement, which is why an unconscious loan is also considered plagiarism.

This also applies to missing sources in scientific papers. Roland Schimmel, Professor of Private Business Law, confirms that "according to the prevailing opinion" there is plagiarism even "if the plagiarist does not notice it". Willingness and knowledge are irrelevant for this, although not for the judgment of an auditing authority or for the assessment by the company. If the plagiarist claims in three cases that he has forgotten quotation marks and footnotes, then this is "relatively evident" a protective claim. If three lines are copied, there could be an “everyday mistake”, but not when copying entire pages.

Plagiarism in college and school

In science, plagiarism can violate examination regulations, employment contracts or university law in the sense of deception . There is a gray area between the illegal takeover of third-party services and the legitimate takeover of ideas that have become free or that have become free, where plagiarism is considered legal, but not legitimate.

There are also those who believe that "plagiarism is necessary, progress requires it".

In 2002, a series of articles in Spiegel about a widespread “plagiarism culture” at German universities caused quite a stir. The author Debora Weber-Wulff , professor for media informatics in Berlin, emphasized above all how little awareness of wrongdoing is among German students and lecturers. What is seen as a minor offense in Germany at best can lead to de-registration in American universities . Weber-Wulff has also written instructions for detecting plagiarism.

In 2006 Sebastian Sattler asked 226 sociology students about plagiarism in university term papers for his sociology master’s thesis . He tested the work of 159 students and found plagiarism in 19.5% of the work. In a further questionnaire-based part of the study, it was found that around one in five had plagiarized while studying and slightly more than one in two in school. The thesis shows that plagiarism is caused, among other things, by a lack of scientific work skills . They are also more likely if students do not have internalized morals - that is, they are not "ashamed" of plagiarism. Plagiarism was defined as follows: “Plagiarism is an intended direct or indirect takeover of third-party content. This content can be arguments, explanations, facts, interpretations, discoveries, conclusions, bibliographies, or the structure of another work. It doesn't matter where these ingredients come from. They can already be published or not yet published, i. This means that other students can also do homework. The takeover is not marked, i.e. In other words, there is no reference to the source or quotation marks when taken verbatim. As a result, the acquisitions appear as separate work. Plagiarism should be used when a foreign thought or quote is not identified. ”(Sattler 2007: 35). A more recent study (called FAIRUSE) came to the result that 17.8% of the surveyed students from several randomly selected universities and subjects said they had plagiarized at least once within six months.

However, this can lead to a large increase in the number and size of footnotes. Analogous to the term creation height (= work height) in copyright law (this depends on the individuality and / or originality of what has been created), the author of a scientific work can decide whether something written by a third party is actually a "foreign thought" in the above sense.

A study based on a database evaluation of the Medline directory of the NIH ( National Institutes of Health ) came to the conclusion in 2008 that the frequency of plagiarism is increasing.

In an anonymous survey of 617 students at the University of Graz carried out in 2012 , around a third stated that they had plagiarized ideas (32.6 percent) or texts (33.6 percent) at least once. The reasons given for plagiarism were convenience (63 percent), time savings (54 percent), lack of ideas (40 percent), unintentional plagiarism (34 percent) and uncertainty about the origin of information (19 percent).

Such a declaration must now be attached to many seminar papers

Plagiarism can be suspected, for example, if the style of a text is inconsistent or unusual terms are used. You can randomly check text passages in search engines or use special checking software to detect plagiarism. While simple copy & paste of websites is quite easy to detect (copy & paste plagiarism), takeovers from remote sources are often not noticed. This includes plagiarism from diploma or master's theses, for which there is usually no obligation to publish, or translations from foreign-language sources (translation plagiarism). In order to put a stop to the problem, many institutes and seminars now require, in addition to possible test procedures, a written declaration from their students that they have written their seminar paper independently and that they have given all sources used without restriction. This should generate awareness of the problem and counteract deliberate attempts at deception.

Not only plagiarize students. Lecturers also occasionally make use of the work of their students or employees. Since the actual author is often in a relationship of dependency, resistance to this is rare and generally has no consequences for the lecturer. A particularly perfidious method of plagiarism is to reject a paper intended for publication within the framework of the peer review or to delay its acceptance, but use the results for one's own work.

There are large differences in the punishment of plagiarized work that is discovered, depending on the (university) school and the severity of the offense. In the USA there are relatively often so-called honor boards, the members of which are themselves students. It is incumbent on these decision-making bodies, made up of a group of almost the same age, to carry out an assessment and punishment (up to and including possible de-registration). The advantage of not having to deal with members of the teaching staff is the greater proximity of peers to the environment and thus a more realistic assessment of the motive and risk of relapse of the delinquent .

In Baden-Wuerttemberg was State Higher Education Act in the wake of the Second Act to implement the federalism reform in higher education intensified so that from March 2009 the making of a true plagiarism in academic work and deregistration reason. The university has a margin of discretion in order to weigh up proportionality.

Plagiarism software

Against this background, the detection of plagiarism is of growing importance. A classic method such as the plagiarism traps built into lexicons as plagiarism indicators are now being supplemented by computer- assisted procedures. A test of 26 plagiarism detection systems (short- plagiarism software 2010) published the Academy of Sciences in Berlin . In 2013, FOCUS Online reported on a test of plagiarism software, as did Spiegel Online on another test.

Examples of such software are:

  • The online solution
  • Turnitin and WriteCheck from iParadigms, LLC (USA)
  • PlagiarismFinder from Mediaphor Software Entertainment AG (since 2004)
  • Docol © c ("Docoloc") from IfALT - Institute for Applied Learning Technologies (since 2005)
  • Certificate from the Swedish company PrioInfo (since 2000 in Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Norway and other European countries; since 2006 in Germany)
  • PlagScan from PlagScan GmbH, Cologne (since 2009)
  • PlagAware from PlagAware UG (limited liability), Neu-Ulm (since 2006)
  • Plagiarism check by BAS Business And Science GmbH, Berlin (since 2016)

Such systems, however, often operate in an area of ​​legal uncertainty because, for example, they record the work examined and use it as material for later examinations. In the USA, a company was sued by students, but they also lost in the second instance in 2009.

Experts advise against using software to detect plagiarism. Such automated software does not adequately recognize plagiarism; it does not differentiate, for example, between quotations and plagiarism. In addition, the use of software can lead to educational institutions lulling themselves into a false sense of security. Some experts therefore recommend preventive awareness-raising, promoting information skills and distributing work assignments that are difficult to solve through plagiarism. For example, topics should be analyzed instead of facts reported.

In 2011, a commission from the University of Bayreuth recommended in its final report on the revocation of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg's doctorate : “[We advise] to use so-called plagiarism software carefully. [...] in addition, checks using plagiarism software should only be carried out if there is a concrete suspicion. The faculties would have to clarify bindingly who will conduct the exams using plagiarism software. It should be borne in mind that the results of a check using plagiarism software generally require reasonable post-processing, because not everything that is displayed using plagiarism software has to be plagiarism. "

A study (FAIRUSE) among teachers from several German universities shows that plagiarism software is used relatively rarely to detect plagiarism. This is also confirmed by a report by the Tagesspiegel . Search engines were used more frequently to detect plagiarism. The majority of teachers try to identify plagiarism by reading carefully. The high level of effort in particular prevents teachers from using plagiarism software. If you assume that you will be expected to use this software, then use it more often.

Self-plagiarism and self-plagiarism

'Self-plagiarism' - actually a contradictio in adiecto - is the reuse of one's own scientific work (or parts of it) without any reference to the original work being found. The term is controversial: The DFG ombudsman for science, Wolfgang Löwer, generally denies its existence: "There is no such thing as self-plagiarism - because that would mean that it would be possible to steal yourself." In a stricter reading the term conveys the idea that the first publication is a handover to the scientific community , which is why later reappropriation is prohibited. From a scientific ethical point of view, v. a. reuse in the event of deception, d. i.e., when a misconception of what is actually present is created. Whether or not there is deception is measured by what the respective scientific community expects from a certain type of publication. Because of this situation and context, there cannot be a definition of 'self-plagiarism' based on purely formal characteristics. Deception becomes particularly problematic in competitive situations involving the distribution of scarce resources, especially in the case of journals with peer reviews, third-party funding applications and in the context of exams or applications.

Copying one's own work, such as the repeated textual use of a master’s, diploma or master’s thesis for a dissertation , has proven to be hardly justiciable. On the Vroniplag Wiki platform, self-plagiarism is generally "not counted as plagiarism". If the structure and parts of the text are massively reused, especially if they are not carefully quoted, then this will call into question the trust in the quality of academic work.

It is controversial whether a self-plagiarism already exists if findings from the scientific work on the dissertation are published again in addition to the dissertation. To the extent that the term scientific publication is interpreted literally and dissertations are included - which is already controversial - the criteria of self-plagiarism in the sense of the DFG guidelines for good scientific practice (here: in relation to journal publications) are met, unless that the dissertation 1. refers to these publications as a source (this assumes that the articles were published before the dissertation was published) and 2. only refers to the findings from these publications as preliminary work (which presupposes that these are also not part of the examination of the dissertation may be claimed and it also contains own, essential, not yet published research work that goes beyond a “least publishable unit” and a “salami publication”). On the other hand, the ombudsman for science appointed by the DFG points out that doctoral regulations often allow partial results to be published in advance. "Transparency and academic honesty are sufficient if a clear reference to the advance publication is made in the foreword, in an introductory note or at the beginning of an adopted section" and the proportions of co-authors are given.

In science, however, the more pragmatic view is taken that self-plagiarism is permissible or permissible with restrictions. There is even the view that it is generally desirable for a doctoral student to present his / her results at specialist conferences and in specialist journals during their doctoral period, not least in order to be able to establish networks with other researchers or to establish contacts for later ones to establish a professional career. Such publications underlined the quality of the work, as they would have to be accepted by additional external reviewers .

A similar situation occurs when several authors work together on a publication that is later to be incorporated into the dissertation of one of the authors. Again, this is a common situation, for example when a supervisor is co-authoring. Cooperations with other scientists are also generally desired, as they are an important part of independent scientific work. The pragmatic position considers the use of parts of joint publications in dissertations to be permissible as long as the relevant texts come from the doctoral student and emerged from his own research (albeit in discussion with other researchers and co-authors). On the other hand, the same scientific knowledge cannot be used as an original own result in several papers that serve to obtain a scientific or academic title. But here, too, it is conceivable that a single, extensive scientific achievement is based on partial work by several cooperating doctoral students, so that it is ultimately the responsibility of the reviewers to check the sufficient own contributions of each individual. In general, in all such cases, the careful specification of all previous publications in the dissertation is an important part of honest scientific work.

In order to resolve the fundamental conflict of guidelines, faculties have increasingly begun to allow the cumulative dissertation in their doctoral regulations , for which the publications themselves can be submitted as a dissertation together with a foreword and final comment.

Another form of publication, which according to the wording of the DFG guidelines is inadmissible self-plagiarism, but which the pragmatic position nevertheless sees as legitimate , is the gradation of the publication media that is common in some disciplines. For example, in IT, specialist articles are published as technical reports, in the proceedings of workshops and conferences, and / or in specialist journals. A publication at a workshop or a technical report is regarded as a preliminary stage of a later conference or journal publication, and in some cases even the conference publication as a further preliminary stage to the journal publication. The pragmatic position in such cases sees the reuse of core parts of one's own work in a later publication as acceptable, even if this results in the same result being published several times. The wording of the DFG guidelines, on the other hand, does not recognize the rank of publication media and only allows this procedure as long as the previous publications are marked as preliminary work and their content is not claimed as a novelty of the publication. The pragmatic position, on the other hand, argues that the validity of workshop contributions and reports is so low that they could be considered unpublished and that there would be no benefit from multiple publications. However, if it is not clear that an earlier publication has a significantly lower rank, then this is a reason for a submission to be rejected. Here, too, it is left to the reviewers to make the decision about the usefulness and honesty of a new publication. The situation presented here may be very different in other subject areas (for example in subjects in which conference proceedings only contain "abstracts" - i.e. one or two paragraphs with the guiding principles of the research result - and detailed descriptions are only common in specialist journals). The assessment of an allegation of self-plagiarism may therefore differ depending on the customs of the respective discipline. The DFG guidelines, for example, explicitly refer to the recommendations of the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty, where multiple publications are rated as "facts of a lesser degree of severity" that do not necessarily require a formal investigation.

The legal scholar Marcel Bisges has dealt in detail with the copyright aspects of self-plagiarism in a legal treatise. He defines self-plagiarism in the narrower legal sense as the legally inadmissible recourse to one's own pre-existing works in later work and comes to the conclusion that every author is initially free to use his own works for later work - in whatever form - so no copyright infringement could be seen in self-plagiarism. However, if the author had previously granted a right of use to someone else, e.g. a publisher, then a differentiation must be made as to whether this is a simple or an exclusive right of use. In the latter case, in the case of a 1: 1 takeover, there would be a fundamental violation of copyright law if the author had not reserved his own use. In addition, it should be checked who is the holder of the editing right. If the author has not granted the publisher this right, he would be free to use his pre-existing work in the form of an adaptation. And last but not least, every author, regardless of who he has granted rights of use to pre-existing works, is still allowed to quote himself.

Legal consequences

The concept of plagiarism is initially only of a literary or literary scientific nature; it is about finding matches. However, within specific legal systems, plagiarism can also have legal consequences.

A plagiarist may be violating:

  • the copyright law , if the plagiarized work is not so old that it is public domain.
  • other criminal law norms, for example fraud.
  • an employment, fee or business contract, if it is agreed in it or if it follows from interpretation that a service to be provided must not be based on plagiarism.
  • the regulations of an examining authority, for example a school or university. Depending on the rules, plagiarism leads to a complaint or to exclusion from an examination.
  • A revocation of the academic degree is also possible

Plagiarism in academic theses

The Administrative Court (VGH) of Baden-Württemberg assessed the unmarked takeover of complete passages from the work of another author in Baden-Wuerttemberg as a “deception about the independence of the scientific achievement” in its decision of October 13, 2008 (file number: 9 S 494/08) a dissertation ”, provided that it is carried out“ according to plan and not just sporadically ”. Such a planned adoption of foreign ideas already results from the fact that "the plagiarism can be found in several places in the dissertation and affect different third-party authors." The court did not consider small changes to unmarked, adopted passages as evidence of attempted independence of the formulation, but rather as evidence of “the plaintiff's intentional obfuscation”. This could entitle the university “to withdraw the doctoral degree awarded”. The VGH expressly emphasized in a guiding principle : "The extent of the written off positions as well as the question of whether the work could have been viewed as an independent scientific work even without the plagiarism is fundamentally irrelevant."

The 7th Senate of the Bavarian Administrative Court ruled on April 4, 2006 that the withdrawal of a doctorate can be based on Article 48 of the Bavarian Administrative Procedure Act (withdrawal of an illegal administrative act). In the underlying case, it was noticeable retrospectively in a dissertation at the University of Regensburg that 35 pages from 16 different third-party works were copied verbatim, about eight of them without any evidence. The Faculty of Law then withdrew the award of the academic degree, but the lawsuit was unsuccessful.

The ombudsman of the German Research Foundation Wolfgang Löwer, a science lawyer in Bonn, has long been calling for a statute of limitations for cases of plagiarism. ("We also know the salvaging effect of time in law", "Legal exams end after five years, while Bachelor and Master courses often have a ten-year period in law. Only for doctoral theses there is no limitation".) This can lead to particular hardship. For example, there is the (little-known and now largely uncommon) option of not completing your studies with a normal exam, but directly with a doctorate. If such an academic is denied the dissertation, he will not have a university degree.

Product plagiarism

Italian imitation of a chair by the architect Marcel Breuer

The Frankfurter Messe checks whether exhibitors sell counterfeit products or plagiarism. Since 2006 there has been the only concerted campaign in the world and an information stand during the trade fairs where relevant authorities such as customs and the patent office provide information. They keep forms ready and help those affected to enforce their rights, for example by means of injunctions . Tiny holograms, for example, can make originals recognizable and are very difficult to imitate. Customs have secret manufacturer information of such details in databases in order to be able to reliably differentiate between original and forgery.

The Plagiarius , a negative prize , has been awarded annually since 1977 at the “ Ambiente ” consumer goods fair .


According to § 35 Z 34 of the Austrian Higher Education Act 2005 in the version dated March 28, 2019, plagiarism is present in any case if texts, contents or ideas are adopted and issued as one's own. This includes in particular the appropriation and use of text passages, theories, hypotheses, findings or data through direct, paraphrased or translated adoption without corresponding identification and citation of the source and the author.

Since April 2005, media scientist Stefan Weber from Salzburg has uncovered some cases of plagiarism, mainly in Austria, which also made the topic more prominent in the media. In response, the University of Klagenfurt decided in 2007 to have all diploma theses and dissertations of the past five years and all future ones checked electronically.

If unauthorized aids are used in the course of a course and unquoted third-party works are definitely included, the examination must be declared null and void according to the 2002 University Act. However, it is counted towards the number of exam attempts.

If plagiarism is discovered only after graduation, the title may be withdrawn. In this case, the work has to be rewritten or the deficiencies have to be eliminated. However, in 2007, in a partial plagiarism case at the University of Salzburg, the title was not withdrawn because the partial plagiarism did not improve the work.


At the University of Zurich , plagiarism by students is considered an examination violation. It can be punished with an exclusion from exams or from the university for a period of up to six semesters.

United States of America

In the United States, the Modern Language Association definition is common:

Forms of plagiarism include the failure to give appropriate acknowledgment when repeating another's wording or particularly apt phrase, paraphrasing another's argument, and presenting another's line of thinking. "( Joseph Gibaldi:, German:" Plagiarism includes, among other things, the omission of appropriate references to sources when using the formulations or special choice of words of another, the summary of the arguments of others or the presentation of the train of thought of another. ")

In 2009, Teddi Fishman, Director of the International Center for Academic Integrity, coined this comprehensive definition:

“Plagiarism is when someone

  1. Uses words, ideas or work results,
  2. that can be assigned to an identifiable person or source,
  3. without showing the takeover and the source in a suitable form,
  4. in a context in which it is to be expected that original authorship is present,
  5. in order to obtain a benefit, a note or some other benefit that does not necessarily have to be monetary. "

Significant historical plagiarism cases

Plagiarism in literature

The Book of Mormon , published by the American religious founder Joseph Smith , contains not only an almost literal takeover of some chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, but also numerous other phrases and descriptions adopted from the Gospels, Apostles' letters and Old Testament books. Smith insisted that God had revealed his work to him.

In the Threepenny Opera, Bertolt Brecht used verses by François Villon in the version translated into German by Karl Anton Klammer . This fact was revealed by Alfred Kerr . For this reason, Brecht wrote a sonnet for the new edition of his book (Sonnet for the new edition of François Villon) that addressed this issue.

Kathy Acker founded an art form of "plagiarism". The application of this art form and the use of passages of text by bestselling author Harold Robbins resulted in a process that was eventually discontinued.

According to the court ruling, unfounded allegations of plagiarism against the American writer Nella Larsen led to the fact that the author turned away from writing entirely.

In 1999, the Federal Supreme Court forbade Bertelsmann- Verlag to publish Jim Williams' Doctor Schiwago continuation Lara's daughter because the owner of the exploitation rights to Doctor Schiwago , the Feltrinelli- Verlag, had not allowed the author to carry out such a sequel. See also: bestseller sequel .

In 2010, the author Helene Hegemann exposed herself to the charge of plagiarism with her first work Axolotl Roadkill .

Plagiarism in music

The following list contains songs from popular music that have been the subject of allegations of plagiarism:

  • 1951: Wimoweh ( Pete Seeger , 1951) / The Lion Sleeps Tonight ( The Tokens , 1961), numerous other performers - Original: Mbube by Solomon Linda . In 2004 a South African court ruled that Solomon's heirs were entitled to rights to the title, as a result of which his daughters received over $ 70 million through out-of-court settlements with various music publishers.
  • 1968: Hello, I Love You by The Doors - Original: All Day And All of the Night by The Kinks .
  • 1970: My Sweet Lord by George Harrison - Original: He's So Fine by The Chiffons .
  • 1990: Still Got the Blues by Gary Moore - Original Nordrach, recorded on March 29, 1974 in the SWR -Studios Baden-Baden by Jud's Gallery , but never released on phonograms until 1999.
    The plagiarism consists in borrowing the guitar passage at the end of the piece Nordrach, this sequence forms the main theme of the piece Still Got the Blues. Jud's Gallery won the trial against Virgin Records on December 3, 2008 in Munich I District Court , Moore appealed; In 2009 he reached a settlement with Jud's Gallery, paid an undisclosed sum and retained the rights to Still Got the Blues .
  • 1991: Love Is a Wonderful Thing by Michael Bolton - Originally released by the Isley Brothers in 1964.
  • 1991: Will You Be There by Michael Jackson - Original: I cigni di Balaka from 1987 by Al Bano & Romina Power .
    Jackson lost a related lawsuit against Al Bano in 1999.
  • 1994: The Most Beautiful Girl in the World by Prince - Original: Takin 'Me to Paradise from 1983 by Raynard J., written by Bruno Bergonzi and Michele Vicino.
    The situation has not been clarified to this day (as of 2020) and Billboard magazine suspects that the uncertainty could last even longer, since Prince died on April 21, 2016.
  • 2002: A One Minute Silence by Mike Batt - Original: 4'33 ″ by John Cage
    The plagiarism of this piece is controversial. Because while Cage in his piece turns the noises that arise during the silence into music, Batt's piece actually deals with the silence.
  • 2015: Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams - Original: Got to give up by Marvin Gaye . Thicke and Williams were committed to paying $ 7.4 million to Gaye's surviving dependents on March 11, 2015.

In classical music , melodies or other distinctive features of an original (e.g. rhythms, harmony sequences) are often quoted. Some have been identified by the author (for example, as "Variations on a Melody by XY").

Plagiarism in Science

  • The doctorate of Friedrich Wilhelm Prince of Prussia was withdrawn in 1971 after extensive plagiarism was discovered. Friedrich Wilhelm later wrote another dissertation and received his doctorate in Munich in 1981.
  • Russian President Putin is said to have copied large parts of his dissertation almost verbatim from the 1978 book "Strategic Planning and Policy" (by William R. King and David I. Cleland, professors at the University of Pittsburgh ) (Putin named this book in his bibliography Job).
  • The American historian Stephen Ambrose (1936-2002), biographer of US Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon , copied entire passages from other authors in many of his works and issued them as a separate work.
  • A law professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin , Hans-Peter Schwintowski , plagiarized while writing a textbook that appeared in 2005.
  • The German lawyer Axel Wirth has been defending himself against allegations of plagiarism since 2006 .
  • The lawyer Walter Frenz , holder of the chair for mining, environmental and European law at RWTH Aachen University , is suspected (as of August 2011) of having taken parts of a manual from a doctoral candidate's doctoral thesis. He accuses the doctoral candidate of having taken these parts from the manual. It is unclear (and will probably remain so; there is testimony against testimony) who is a plagiarist and who is plagiarized. A few months later, the law faculty of the University of Bonn expressed "considerable doubts" that Frenz had complied with the scientific rules and that he had fulfilled his duty of care towards the next generation of scientists. The faculty terminated its cooperation with Frenz “with immediate effect” and reserved the right to review previous doctoral procedures in which he was involved.
  • The then Federal Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was accused in February 2011 after information from the Bremen law professor Andreas Fischer-Lescano of having copied large parts of his dissertation from various foreign texts without naming the sources. On February 23, 2011, the University of Bayreuth revoked his doctorate. Eventually the public pressure got so high that he stepped down from all political offices. (See also Guttenberg plagiarism affair .)
  • On May 11, 2011, EU politician Silvana Koch-Mehrin resigned from her political offices in the FDP on suspicion of plagiarism. On June 15, 2011, the University of Heidelberg revoked her doctorate . After Koch-Mehrin attempted to object, the administrative court's judgment became final on February 7, 2014
  • Also on May 11, 2011, the University of Konstanz announced that it had revoked Edmund Stoiber's daughter , Veronica (Vroni), the doctoral degree . (See also VroniPlag Wiki .)
  • The Munich civil lawyer Claus-Wilhelm Canaris was accused of “plagiarism” by the Bremen law professor Peter Derleder . Among other things, Canaris had carefully "read Bernd Hüpers 'dissertation on Canaris' doctoral supervisor Karl Larenz , but not quoted it, just skimmed it off".
  • On April 2, 2012, the Hungarian President Pál Schmitt resigned after the Senate of Semmelweis University (SOTE) in Budapest revoked his doctorate due to plagiarism in his dissertation. More here .
  • In May 2012, when she was Federal Minister for Education and Research, Annette Schavan's dissertation from 1980 came under suspicion of plagiarism. After the revocation of her doctorate , she offered to resign and was replaced by Johanna Wanka on February 14, 2013 .

Volker Rieble , law professor in Munich, published a book in spring 2010 with the title Das Wissenschaftsplagiat. The failure of a system . The first part of the book uncovered numerous plagiarisms and portrayed a criminal serial plagiarist. In the second part, the author examines possible sanctions and defenses as well as the institutional failure of the scientific community. He considers public discussion to be the most effective defense against plagiarism, because this is the only way to seriously threaten the plagiarist.

In this context, Rieble emphasizes the following aspects:

  • “Plagiarism usually happens when doctoral students are about to start their career and are short of time. Then they become undisciplined and prone to copying. .. most plagiarists are not culprits, but poor sausages. "
  • "There is an imbalance in perception when intellectual theft is denounced in this way in our country, but tax evasion is not."
  • “Any threats and doctoral studies are of no use as long as there are professional ghostwriters . There are 100 to 150 such companies in Germany that do nothing else and write four to ten papers a year. Some of the professors are also bad role models. As long as it is possible for a German law professor to sell a revised doctoral thesis by an employee as his own report, the research community is unreliable. True to the motto: You hang the little ones, let the big ones run. "
  • "At most ten percent of those who destroy these standards through plagiarism and drag the good reputation of German science into the basement."

Plagiarism in journalism

Journalists plagiarize too. Well-known examples are Jayson Blair (New York Times) and Maureen Dowd, columnist for the New York Times and Pulitzer Prize winner. In journalism as well as in science, time pressure and the pursuit of reputation are important reasons for plagiarism. According to the sociologists Sattler and van Veen, this means that the relevant media and journalists can lose credibility. The unchanged adoption of press releases without citing the source is also problematic.

Plagiarism in the fine arts

In 2012 the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe presented the exhibition Déjà-vu? The art of repetition from Dürer to YouTube . The topic was "the diverse forms, functions and motifs of copying", it "makes it clear that copies and originals fulfill different functions over time and have been valued very differently."

It is not uncommon for the art of repetition to cement the fame of the creators of the originals. Sometimes the artist makes changes in the artistic appropriation of a work that put the copied work into a new context. Around 1600 , for example, Johann Geminger transferred the famous copper engraving, Ritter, Tod und Teufel (1513) created by Dürer into a colorful painting. Often the role model is hardly recognizable in such reinterpretations. Occasionally only individual elements of the picture are cited, for example the painting The poor Poet, well known in Spitzweg's painting, The poor Poet stretched over the bed or Dalí's clock flowing over an edge appear in some later works.

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Plagiarism  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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