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The death of plagiarism /

Brad Esposito January 26, 2023 (Very Fine Day)

A few years ago, somewhere in the free-flowing and seemingly endless spiral of 2016 American Politics, a particular quote was rolled out endlessly: Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, it is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It was credited to a range of figures of different inspirational beats: Nelson Mandela, JFK, Martin Luther King Jr, and most would also know it from the film Coach Carter, where the entire passage was lifted entirely (without credit).

Of course, it was none of these people who first decided to put all of those words down on paper. Instead, those are the words of self-help guru, writer, poet, and one-time attempted Democratic nominee for President, Marianne Williamson. Which is funny. And there are countless examples of similar quotes with similar ideas all attributed to similar people, and without much of a critical lens from the general public on who said it first or came up with it before anyone else. Which is not to say that Marianne Williamson should not be appreciated for creating something that has clearly touched so many people, but it is a moment that I have found myself thinking about, regularly, as the news cycle begins to reckon with the reality of Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the media industry at large.

Mostly, though, it has me thinking about plagiarism, and how something can be so clearly wrong and unethical and against the exploration of creative fields and intelligence, while also being something that – perhaps – many people simply do not care about.

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