Plagiarism can be described as using somebody else’s work or written material without indentifying them as the author or acknowledging their contribution (Jean & Nicolas2007). In the article Gladwell’s thinking a play writer from Britain Bryony Lavery stole the works of an American psychiatrist Dorothy Lewis and turned it into a very successful Broadway play. Bryony Lavery play “frozen” had material that was plagiarized from Dorothy Lewis newspaper article that was published in a Britain newspaper.
Dorothy Lewis got to know about somebody using her written material after her friends watched the play on Broadway. She consulted her friends in the music industry in order to know whet to do. Her friends told her that in music industry there is a lot plagiarism but not all the cases that are taken to court at won. She was told that not all of the plagiarized material is owned by those who take plagiarist to court. Dorothy Lewis acknowledges that some of her works may be ideas she has read in books (Gladwell’s 2004). This is perhaps the reason she is very generous to the British play writer. Although she feels violated because her writings have been used to write a successful play and the play writer did not acknowledge the material was hers she is still reluctant to sue the play writer.
Dorothy Lewis feels violated because some of the details in her story have been change to portray her in a different light. But after meeting the play writer she is not sure whether to go to the courts and sue the play writer. She is also told that intellectual rights property cases are at times complicated. In academics work however plagiarism is taken as a very serious offence. Copying materials from other authors without giving them credit can earn an individual expulsion from schools especially collages. It is considered a very serious crime which students should not engage in.
The article also discusses intellectual properties especially concerning medical patents. The author acknowledges that copying expensive medical patents can save many lives since cheap generics are manufactured that are sold cheaply in Africa. Many American pharmaceutical companies are against such practices since they are protected by patent laws for twenty years before their patents become public property(Gladwell’s 2004). This is to help these companies to recover the resources that are used to develop these drugs and to provide incentives to the scientists in order to encourage them to keep researching and discovering new cures. In such cases then plagiarism can be used to save many lives without the drug companies making any loses. This is because the poor third world countries can not afford their expensive medicine so even if the generics are not allowed the third world countries can not afford their products they therefore do not buy them(Gladwell’s 2004) .So by allowing the making generics products to be sold in the third world countries the pharmaceutical industry does not incur losses unless those generics are resold in the developed countries.
In the academic field however it is different in that by plagiarizing other authors’ works is not done to save lives but to get better grades. It is therefore done for the good of society but for personal gains. Using other peoples written materials is not barred by any laws the only requirement is to acknowledge or give the original author credit for his work. It should also be noted that quoting written materials from other authors and giving them credit does not cost anything. This is perhaps why the crime of plagiarism is taken very seriously in academic circles than in the music industry where one is required to pay copyright fees.