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The Little Book of Plagiarism

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  190 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
A concise, lively, and bracing exploration of an issue bedeviling our cultural landscape–plagiarism in literature, academia, music, art, and film–by 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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The lack of ideas,the lack of time and the lack of respect.Hopefully there are many tools for checking for plagiarism these days

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Community Reviews

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Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The concept of plagiarism and how it has changed through history is examined in this short but well written book. Added to my understanding of the concept.
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!
Michelle Devidi
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
A wonderful little read - great examples throughout history of plagiarisms big and small. Highly recommended.
Richard Epstein
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wit, and its soul, brevity, clarity, erudition, and recommendation: would that judges did this well in their opinions.
Aug 27, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is brief, interesting and quickly read. Posner is a judge in the United States Second Court of Appeals and a lecturer at the University of Chicago law school. In this book he defines plagiarism, explains the difference between it and copyright infringement and when it is actually a crime.

He lists some famous examples of modern plagiarists plus a history of plagiarists in the past. He discusses why plagiarism is a crime, why should it be a crime and why some plagiarists should be more s
Mar 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Susan Merrell
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Helpful, direct and smart.
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Vito Camarretta
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: get-smarter
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 ;)
Bill  Kerwin
Jun 16, 2007 rated it it was ok

An interesting brief overview, but lacking original insight.
Jun 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
I'm not sure who the audience of this book is, but I guess if it's written for people who have *no idea* what plagiarism is or could be it has some value. For anyone who's been around academia or taught, though, it's thin at best, and the strange over-focus on legal issues (strange in that plagiarism is not most typically a legal issue, unlike copyright infringement, but not strange in that this author is a judge), out-of-the-blue painting of "liberals" as totally cool with plagiarism (Guess wha ...more
Sep 10, 2010 rated it liked it
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

Laura Schmigel
Nov 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
The best chapter is the last one as it summarizes the rest. Plagiarism has a mucky history and is even standard operating procedure in a few professions. However, the more highly individuality and creative effort are prized, the less acceptance plagiarism has. Intellectual theft steals an audience, a market, a grade. When it is discovered, the loss of respect and trust can haunt the plagiarist for decades. The intelligent, ambitious student, professor, and artist are most susceptible to temptati ...more
this book is in fact quite "little." A quick read. The main topic is the ambiguity of saying what is plagiarism, since many forms of basing your work on something are okay so the question is where do you draw the line. I would have liked him to discuss whether the topic of plagiarism is relevant in religion, for example, delivering a sermon from a sermon book rather than writing your own. Interesting but doesn't cover as much as I would have hoped.
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?
Jul 06, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
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?)
Ali Hasanain
Aug 02, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 20, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Posner is sure in his language, unkind to academics, and thought-provoking on the differences between originality and creativity. Judges, it seems, cannot be plagarists, but damn any "liberal" historian who falls into the trap.
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Posner is a bit conservative on some matters associated with plagiarism for my tastes, but he's forthright about why and does a nice job of explaining the intricacies and histories of the act in an accessible way.
Addison Braendel
Fun quick read. Especially nice on the distinction of a Judge affixing their names to opinions written by clerks not being plagiarism...
Mar 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
Defination and examples of Plagiarism. Not examples on format or how to avoid it. Short book and served the purpose I needed it to.
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Plagiarism software 1 1 Jul 19, 2016 10:38AM  
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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
More about Richard A. Posner...

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