Plagiarism Lawsuits. Top 10 Most Interesting Cases

lawsuitThe term plagiarism refers to using ideas, text, research and other types of intellectual property without giving a credit to the original owner of the intellectual property right. Plagiarism cases may occur in various spheres of culture and education, including cinematography, poetry and writing, scientific research, songs etc. There are even some known plagiarism cases in the national symbols of the states, like plagiarizing of national anthem or flag colors. Plagiarism laws and policies have been developed and adopted in legislative systems of the most developed countries. Obviously, the person that is caught on plagiarism has to bear the relevant punishment. The consequences of plagiarism depend on the nature of the plagiarism case, percentage of plagiarized content, status of the author and the societal attitude towards originality in a particular country. While plagiarism case in an undergraduate program may lead to a serious notice of warning with a possibility to be expelled from the college, plagiarism in public speeches of governmental officials or in dissertation theses of prominent academics may lead to spoiled reputation, dismissal from the position and public disapproval. Moreover, famous people who are accused of plagiarism usually become parties of loud lawsuits. Thus, the consequences of plagiarism may have negative effect on the entire career and life.

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The most interesting cases of plagiarism lawsuits are connected with the activity of famous politicians, writers, filmmakers, compositors and artists. Many of the famous figures were engaged into the plagiarism scandals. However, there are some high-profile cases that attract attention of each and every person. So, if you are one of those interested people, continue reading this article to find out the top-ten plagiarism cases that led to lawsuits.

Top-ten plagiarism stories ended up in lawsuits:

  1. In 2013, the group “Blurred Lines” was accused of plagiarism by children of Marvin Gaye. Gaye’s children charged $7.3 million for the borrowed song with the name “Got to Give Up” originally authored by their father. The group-members admitted the similarities in their hit and the song of Marvin Gaye. However, they attribute such similarities to a coincidence rather than to plagiarizing. In any case, $7.3 million is an impressive pay for a so-called coincidence!

  2. One of the most ridiculous plagiarism lawsuits is the case of Taylor Swift who is alleged in plagiarizing lyrics from the song of R&B singers Jesse Braham. The last accuses Taylor Swift of using several sentences from his song “Haters Gonna Hate” in her song “Shake It Off”. Braham plans to sue $42 million for this coincidence. However, most reviewers note that particular phrase is not a kind of intellectual property, but rather an often used rhyme. Thus, the allegations look like a ridiculous try to make the “easy money”.

  3. Senator Joseph Biden was guilty in plagiarism and was forced to withdraw from the presidential election campaign in 1988. Senator admitted that he misleadingly plagiarized the text in his first work of introductory methodology class, and did not provide the correct citations. To clear his reputation, Joe Biden brought this case to the Delaware Supreme Court, and the Court dismissed the allegations. However, later in his political career, Joe Biden was accused of plagiarism again. That time, the case contained the plagiarism instances in his public speeches, where he did not give the proper credit to such authors as Senator Kennedy and Neil Kinnock. The consequences of plagiarism were the withdrawal from the Presidential Campaign.

  4. Vladimir Putin, Russian President, was accused of plagiarism in his Candidate thesis, where he almost “word-to-word” copied the text of the management article written by two professors of the University of Pittsburgh. The dissertation of Putin has been a miracle for a long period, until some researchers found the electronic copy of his paper in the public library. The introductory part of the thesis contained 16 pages of fully copy-pasted text. Unlike the Western colleagues, who tried to clear the situation and regret their illegitimate activity, Putin ignored the accusations.

  5. The German Minister of Defense Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was alleged in plagiarizing the part of his dissertation. The analytical review of his work showed that approximately 63% of the entire text was borrowed without accreditation. Guttenberg was immediately dismissed from his high position and lost the Doctorship title.

  6. The Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta was accused of copy-paste plagiarism in his PhD thesis. According to the prosecution, Ponta cheated 27% of his work. First, he denied the allegations by all means stating that plagiarism accusations are fabricated by his political rivals. Later on, Ponta admitted some part of borrowed content. The most shocking moment of the case is the reaction of the Ministry of Education. He did not approve the allegations, withdrew the claim and dissolved the committee that investigated the case.

  7. Annette Schavan, who was the German Minister of Education and Research was accused of plagiarism in her PhD dissertation paper. The University of Dusseldorf initiated the investigation which led to the conclusion, that 60 secondary sources were used in the work without any attribution to the authorship. After the findings, Annette Schavan was resigned from her Minister Position and her PhD title was revoked.

  8. In 2012 the allegations of plagiarism were faced by the head of Hungarian Christian Democratic People’s Party Tsolt Semjen, who was also the Deputy Prime Minister of the country. According to the Hungarian news portal, the dissertation paper of the Semjen contained 40% of plagiarized content without any citations. The university where Semjen was awarded the PhD degree concluded that they cannot decide upon the primary attribution of the content in favor of any author. Thus, in spite of the revocation of PhD degree, Tsolt Semjen still occupies the same position at the political arena and holds his PhD status.

  9. In 2004 the Florida Times completed the investigation of the editorial content for plagiarism. The investigation board found numerous cases of plagiarism, improper attributions and paraphrasing. One of the most honored editors, Lloyd Brown, has admitted that his editorials also included plagiarized text. However, he also mentioned that he never had intent to plagiarize. And due to this shameless case, he asked to resign from the position of the Florida Times editor.

  10. Jayson Blair, the editor from the New York Times, was far more engaged in unethical behavior than his colleague Lloyd Brown. He committed intellectual fraud intentionally on a constant basis. The analysis of Blair’s editorial stories showed that he used counterfeit facts, photos and other things in support of his views. The damage of his unqualified works for NYT is colossal, and the editorial board acknowledges this problem as a part of poor coordination system among staff.

There are many similar stories of plagiarism cases and lawsuits around the globe. One thing is obvious – there is no perfect and effective system of the plagiarism detection.