The Conscience of Plagiarism

You spend time to research an issue. You write an essay and feel it is ready for publishing after several reviews, doubts and readings. Imagine you give it to a friend for publication. The friend gives to another friend who is an editor of a local newspaper house,explaining the source. The editor publishes it. The catch is-the article goes online and is printed, but the name of the original author has changed. The essay is no longer in your name!

Sadly, I am not the author in this story. I am the middleman who gave the editor the essay, and ended up with the credits. Thus, I accidentally ‘became’ thief of someone else’s intellectual property. The article is on one of my favorite artists, and was written originally in French by my friend who works as Cultural mediator. It was supposed to be published in an academic journal, but trust me in my eagerness to share the beautiful insights that were reflected in that article- I asked to help edit the text to go as close to the original meaning of the text, to send it for publication thereafter. 

This is an apology to the original writer of the essay. For some reasons I have not named the newspaper house, now. I will speak of my experiences as writer for the now defunct Comet Newspapers, whose offices were situated at Ijora, Lagos. A gallery owner recently complained about the dirty of critical essays on art in Nigeria. What we usually read run more like paid advertorials. Proper writing, and journalism, is yet to find home here. The publishers are the first culprits. People in power are generally the problem with all things Nigerian. When the head of fish rots…

I have been hasty, impulsive in my writing. I make avoidable grammatical errors in my postings on social media. Today, I stand as charged, the unwitting thief of intellectual property, humbled. I have accomplices. Next time, I will write slowly, read slowly, and make sure the authorship is right. I think the whole world will be better if we all take the cue. In this internet age, our fingers still don’t type as fast as our brains think it. Slow down, and check that the dots are in the right places. There are too many mistakes in the text. The letter kills.

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