Illegitimacy of Plagiarism Norms

10 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2020

See all articles by Brian L. Frye

Brian L. Frye

University of Kentucky - College of Law; Dogecoin DAO Legal Scholarship Page; Rug Radio DAO Grifting Division

Date Written: March 23, 2020


On Thursday, March 19, shortly before midnight and fortified by bourbon, I asked Alvin Emoodo of to ghostwrite an article for me. Here is what I asked him to write:

"I’d like you to write an article explaining why plagiarism norms are illegitimate and not justified. Among other things, it can argue that plagiarism norms are not really intended to benefit readers, but to benefit authors. And it can argue that plagiarism norms benefit established authors at the expense of new authors. But be creative!"

On Sunday, March 22, shortly before midnight, Alvin emailed me this article. Here is the abstract he provided:

"The concept of plagiarism is often vague and does not hold a comprehensive understanding. Its vagueness has contributed to many culprits going unpunished. Many dictionaries define plagiarism simply as 'literary theft.' Plagiarism is the theft of thoughts, creativity, and ideas of another person with the aim of owning it without acknowledging the input of the source. It is a crime. In 1990, Neal Bowers published a poem titled 'Tenth-Year Elegy' in the Poetry journal. A year later, Bowers discovers that another poet by the name David Sumner had copied line after line of the poem and published it in the Mankato Poetry Review as his own and gave it a new title – 'Someone forgotten.' Later on, Bowers published “Words for the Taking,” a memoir that described Sumner’s actions as a 'crime.'

Plagiarism deceives readers and gives the plagiarist undeserved credits while hurting the plagiarized authors. All plagiarism norms are illegitimate and not justified. The cheating that is plagiarism earns plagiarists undeserved awards such as academic certificates. In his memoir, after learning of the actions of David Sumner, Bowers explains how he spent languid afternoons at home while thinking about his 'thief,' when he should have been writing poems. Bowers describes how he was there wishing for something to be done against Sumner’s plagiarism actions, although he did not know what that “something” was or should have been."

I paid Alvin $50 up front and $50 on delivery. In my opinion, it was money well-spent.

Keywords: plagiarism, copyright, intellectual property, conceptual art, trolling

Suggested Citation

Frye, Brian L., Illegitimacy of Plagiarism Norms (March 23, 2020). Available at SSRN:

Brian L. Frye (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky - College of Law ( email )

620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States


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