ERIC Number: ED451570
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Mar-16
Plagiarism, Enclosure, and the Commons of the Mind.
Scurrah, William L.
When discussing plagiarism and cheating these days, college faculty seem to find themselves using the rhetoric of crime and punishment ("It's easier to steal from the Internet") on their students rather than a rhetoric more attuned to their actual mission. A short overview in this paper of the history of plagiarism and the development of the concept of intellectual "property rights" is given to help address the problem. The paper begins by drawing a parallel between the historical process of land enclosure that occurred in England from the 15th to the 19th centuries to the development and spread of print and suggests, thereby, that both expressed new concepts of economics and of the self. Correlate developments in private land ownership, copyright, and the rise of the author, along with the concept of plagiarism, reveal that commodification (the idea that everything can be sold on an open market) is the ideology that unites these apparently disparate developments and affects the way that what is done in the classroom is conceptualized, what is expected from students, and what they produce in response to educators' expectations. Educators need to recognize that although the law has been slow to accommodate itself to the Internet, it is going to eventually, and electronic publishing is going to be as protected by copyright as books. They also need to teach skepticism and place their teaching on plagiarism in a broader context of critical thinking theory and skills. Contains a 22-item bibliography. (NKA)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (52nd, Denver, CO, March 14-17, 2001).