pla•gia•rism 1. an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's work as one's own, as by not crediting the original author: Synonyms: appropriation, infringement, piracy, counterfeiting; theft, borrowing, cribbing, passing off. 2. A piece of writing or other work reflecting such unauthorized use or imitation: “These two manuscripts are clearly plagiarisms,” the editor said, tossing them angrily on the floor. plagiarism Cryptomnesia occurs when a forgotten memory returns without it being recognised as such by the subject, who believes it is something new and original. It is a memory bias whereby a person may falsely recall generating a thought, an idea, a song, or a joke, not deliberately engaging in plagiarism but rather experiencing a memory as if it were a new inspiration. Cryptomnesia Not a recent development, the act of plagiarizing has occurred time and time again, throughout history. Let’s take a look at five writers of the past and see how they fared in the days before computers and technology. They should’ve had original work back then, right? Not really. Take for instance Helen Keller, the well known writer, who was deaf and blind, she couldn’t possibly have used any outside influence in her writing could she? Helen Keller had written a short story titled “the Frost King’, when she was eleven years old. It turns out that this story was from another book called "Frost Fairies", from Margaret Canby's book "Birdie and His Fairy Friends", which her mentor had read to her when she was eight years old while they were on vacation. Although there was a lot of controversy as to whether or not she intentionally plagiarized the other author’s work, it upset Helen so much, she never wrote another story again. Helen Keller Next up is the famous Robert Lewis Stevenson, the Scottish poet and novelist. Treasure Island being one of his most famous works and one he admits has several cases of plagiarism in it. He stated that the parrot was taken from Robinson Crusoe, the skeleton from Poe, and the stockade from Masterman Ready, and with a more lackadaisical attitude then Helens, he credited most of the detail in his first chapter to the author William Irving. Stevenson Alex Haley who authored the book “Roots” was charged with plagiarizing eighty one pages of the book “The African” written by Harold Courlander. After a five week trail, they settled the case with financial reimbursement and a public statement from Haley in which he acknowledged the plagiarism and stated that he regretted the materials from The African found their way into his book. Haley And let’s not forget about T.S. Elliot, a publisher, playwright, literary, poet and social critic. He wrote to one of his Harvard professors "My reputation in London is built upon one small volume of verse, and is kept up by printing two or three more poems in a year. The only thing that matters is that these should be perfect in their kind, so that each should be an event." He is also the most cited source for the quote “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal”. He plagiarized most of his work in the Waste Land, which according to a cracked article, was just cobbled together out of quotes from other writers. Elliot cracked.com H.G. Wells was referred to as “the father of fiction”. He would never get accused of such a thing, would he? Well, why not. The 1920’s book “Outline of History’ was largely taken from the book “The Web of the World’s Romance” written by an unknown Canadian author named Florence Deeks. Wells was accused of using the outline and phrasing from Deeks book and unfortunately she lost the court battle. The Privy committee stated that because her book was never printed, there could be no legal grounds. Deeks VS Wells Famous Plagiarism Wells So, is there any way to not plagiarize someone else’s work, either knowingly or unknowingly? How serious in today’s world, with so much information at your fingertips, should we take plagiarism? I know just doing my research on this subject I stumbled onto several websites that just copied and pasted information from another source. They did credit the other site, but most of the information was regurgitated so badly, it is almost impossible to find the original source. Should we redefine what Plagiarism is so it fits today’s world? Or should we stay with the current definition of the word and more stringently enforce it? Whatever your thoughts, I hope you found this information as interesting as I did. And I would like to give credit to Cazann34 whose thread located Here got me interested in this.