The Plagiarism Trilogy

Banja Luka Criminal Law Review, Forthcoming

13 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2021

See all articles by Brian L. Frye

Brian L. Frye

University of Kentucky - College of Law

Date Written: May 29, 2021


The time has come to talk of many things: Of plagiarism, and plagiarists, and the plagiary, of the noble lie of originality and the daydream of creativity, and why plagiarism is beautiful, and whether we are worthy of its beauty.

Everyone hates a plagiarist. Plagiarism is the ultimate academic crime: unjustifiable, unforgivable, unpardonable. The plagiarist is the homo sacer of academia, a sacred outcast, forever accursed, not merely set apart from the fellowship of scholars, but erased from its memory.

And yet the practice of law consists primarily of plagiarism. If lawyers aren’t plagiarizing, they’re committing malpractice. What is to be done? Legal pedagogy solves the problem by pretending it doesn’t exist. Plagiarism is the dirty secret we hide from law students, but expect them to discover after we induct them into the profession. “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

I have also tasted that fruit, and it also caused my eyes to be opened. This is the story of my dalliance with plagiarism and what I learned from it.

Keywords: plagiarism, plagiarist, intellectual property, copyright, cheating, trolling

Suggested Citation

Frye, Brian L., The Plagiarism Trilogy (May 29, 2021). Banja Luka Criminal Law Review, Forthcoming, 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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