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The Little Book of Plagiarism

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  30 reviews
A concise, lively, and bracing exploration of an issue bedeviling our cultural landscapeâplagiarism in literature, academia, music, art, and filmâby one of our most influential and controversial legal scholars. Best-selling novelists J. K. Rowling and Dan Brown, popular historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Stephen Ambrose, Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree, first novel ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published January 16th 2007 by Pantheon (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 334)
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Judge Posner is known for being prolific - reading the dust-jacket blurb, one's immediate question is "how can one man write so many books?" If this book is anything to go by, the answer is "by having them be short, dull, and perfunctory".

The operative word in the title is "little" - at 106 pages and a reduced page size (I would guess 60% of normal), it's little more than an expanded magazine article. I held off on giving it a single star, because there was nothing actually offensive. But there
Nothing a smart, thoughtful, well-read person couldn't figure out on their own. He devoted a whole sentence - one! - to the issue of "appropriation," which is my intellectual property interest. The rest of it was a boring hodgepdoge of the new methods for plagiarism detection, the history and nuances of plagiarism and copyright, and musings on what the value of intellectual property really is. Expensive book for the page count - I had a gift certificate, thank God, because it cost more than good ...more
Bill  Kerwin

An interesting brief overview, but lacking original insight.
I just finished reading Richard A. Posner's "The Little Book of Plagiarism" tonight, and thought I'd share a few well-sourced thoughts.

I'm especially intrigued by what Posner calls a "cult of personality" (p. 67) which he describes thusly:

Each of us thinks that our contribution to society is unique and so deserves public recognition, which plagiarism clouds. Individualism also creates heterogenity of demands for expressive and intellectual products, as of physical products and ordinary commerci
I like Posner's writing -- not surprisingly, its very legalistic, precise, and more interested in making theoretical distinctions and analogies than in being a historian of plagiarism. His points are more or less a series of distinctions so we can understand what plagiarism is and is not. He draws a worthwhile correlation between plagiarism and a culture that highly values originality and worships individual genius. It's not a coherent report on important cases of plagiarism, this is not a histo ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Legal scholar Richard Posner has written books on many newsworthy issues, including President Clinton's impeachment, the 2000 election, and 9/11. The Little Book is trademark Posner: smart, concise, elegant, topical__and a little smug. Although he never exactly excuses plagiarism, Posner does illustrate how in Shakespeare's and Rembrandt's times, the public condoned copying since it considered art a more collaborative venture than we do today. Posner, who delves into the legal, economic, and eth

Loving his thoughts on the definition of plagiarism, how "stealing" a passage isn't accurate because when you "steal" a car it's gone, but when you "steal" a passage the author still has the book. (Side note: there's really apologists for plagiarism?)
Dec 27, 2011 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Laura by: Trevor
This concise and truly "little book" should be read by all teachers, writers, lawyers, judges, artists, and anyone else interested in copyright law or interesting things.

Posner's argument and his writing are analytical and informative without being dull, and his claim that liberals are too soft on plagiarism isn't wrong; though I'd hate to think that liberals would discount this book or his argument as conservative. Posner is, historically and here with this book, wonderfully and thrillingly pra
Alasdair Peterson
Essentially an extended essay, this little book is an intriguing reflection on the concept of plagiarism. Some might be disappointed to find little in terms of practical advicce, but this was not Posner's purpose. His discussion of the ways in which societal views of plagiarism change over time is interesting, as his suggestion that this phenomenon is linked to the available market for expressive works, unathorised copying being seen as more reprehensible in societies where the original author i ...more
I'm not sure who the audience for this book is supposed to be - it's too general for purposes of law or education. Nevertheless, I found the first two-thirds or so quite interesting and engaging.
Richard Epstein
Wit, and its soul, brevity, clarity, erudition, and recommendation: would that judges did this well in their opinions.
Jul 06, 2007 Melanie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Bored law students
It's not mind-blowing, but it is thought-provoking. Posner gets you thinking about a harm that is outside of legal categories. It's a good follow-up to a boring torts class because it kind of makes you like torts again (asking: who was harmed? what was the harm? why did the harm happen? what should the remedy be?). Short, quick read.
Donna Kirk
what is plagiarism in terms of speeches? if a candidate is a representative member of a larger body and uses thoughts and ideas that represent that body, is it okay? obviously, there are strict rules for academics, writers, scholars and journalists for plagiarism, but does this apply to oratory, speech, rhetoric?
I think this is a must-read for anyone interested in ideas...that just about everyone. Posner is a law & economics god, so you're sure to enjoy it if you have an interest in econ, intellectual property, or if you merely want to justify nabbing some lines for some of your own creative assets ;)
Maybe I lost something by reading this book in Kindle format, but it seemed so disorganized. I expected better. However, my expectations were met with respect to random liberal-bashing. So add a bonus star for working gratuitous political slant into a book about plagiarism.
Ali Hasanain
This breezy, but somewhat repetitive and incomplete account of plagiarism nonetheless holds your attention, and since its so small, can be easily read in one short sitting. Would probably have been better organized as an essay, but I'm still glad I read it.
Vito Camarretta
A sort of lucid pamphlet on some matters related to copyright infringment. Maybe the only mole of the reading stays in the fact it could better analyze the consequences of TRIPS on legislation of both common law and civil law juridicial systems.
A good little read on plagiarism by judge / legal scholar who writes about property law. Some fun anecdotes and interesting discussions of various kinds of "intellectual fraud." Possibly helpful/interesting to have students read.
Stephen Terrell
Short summary of the issues surrounding plagiarism. As always, Judge Posner has his own views. But this is a good quick read for anyone interested in intellectual property and integrity of the written word.
Sep 06, 2007 Donna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: high school & college term paper writers
Shelves: nonfiction
I like most of Posner's more "popular" books even though I don't agree with most of his legal theory. This was interesting. Everyone writer should at least be familiar with the content here.
Sean Kearns
Short, to the point, great evaluation of the definition of Plagiarism. It's an excellent reference for those who have no taken any journalism, copyright, or ethics in academia courses.
Anthony Schein
Mar 02, 2007 Anthony Schein rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like books that are of interesting shapes (this one fits neatly in my back pocket)
im still reading this, but im enjoying it. anyone who is willing to seriously question the meaning of plagiarism and ideas about intellectual property is greatly appreciated.
The work serves as a nice intro to plagiarism, as well as a brief foray into the complexities that accompany a topic the view of which has evolved through history.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
He has some interesting perspectives on what constitutes plagiarism. Gave me something to think about. Every educator should read this. I just wish he'd written more!
Defination and examples of Plagiarism. Not examples on format or how to avoid it. Short book and served the purpose I needed it to.
Michelle Devidi
A wonderful little read - great examples throughout history of plagiarisms big and small. Highly recommended.
Aug 07, 2008 Dragon rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone with strong feelings about Plagiarism
This book wasn't what I expected. An assortment of opinion as well as a who stole what from whom...

Small, yet powerful book with many great examples of folks who got nailed for plagiarizing.
Why Kavya Viswanathan deserved what she got.
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Richard Posner is Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

Following his graduation from Harvard Law School, Judge Posner clerked for Justice William J. Brennan Jr. From 1963 to 1965, he was assistant to Commissioner Philip Elman of the Federal Trade Commission. For the next two years he was assistant to the solicitor general of the United States. Prior to going to Stanford
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