“In Internet Age, Writers Face Frontier Justice”

In the age of the Internet, literary exegesis (whether driven by
scandal or not) is no longer undertaken solely by pale critics or
plodding lawyers speaking only to each other, but by a global hive,
humming everywhere at once, and linked to the wiki. And if you are big
enough to matter (as any writer would hope to be), one misstep, one
mistake, can incite a horde of analysts, each with a global publishing
medium in the living room and, it sometimes seems, limitless amounts of


As both a (non-plodding) lawyer and college prof, I find the topic of plagiarism a fascinating one. Thanks to tools like Turnitin we can now easily catch the most obvious cases (my personal favorite-"But professor, I paid $35 for that paper!") but it is the more subtle cases that I believe will always prove more troubling.

On his blog today, Malcolm Gladwell disagrees with the horde regarding l'affaire Viswanathan, pointing out that it is a novel we are talking about, not a work of serious scholarship:

"Calling this plagiarism is the equivalent of crying "copy" in a crowded Kinkos."


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