Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Is Self-Plagiarism Ever Acceptable?

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and journalist Jonah Lehrer received recent criticism for reusing old content that they wrote themselves without acknowledging the recycling ("The Self-Plagiarism Scandal," Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, July 4, 2012). The article and accompanying audio file goes on to state that journalists like Lehrer are held to a higher standard to develop original content on a regular basis than creative artists like Sorkin. While Sorkin is known for catchphrases that are employed in his different television shows, Lehrer reproduced paragraphs of his writing in different publications without crediting himself.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you wrote the material, should you be able to reuse it? Or can you recycle it only if you cite yourself?
  2. If you are getting paid for your writing skills, what would your employer say if you turn in a column or script that has recycled content? Does it matter how much of the material is being reused?
  3. As a college student, should you be able to turn in one project to satisfy the requirements of two different classes? Why or why not?

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