Credit Where Credit's Due

Intellectual Property and Copyright and Trademark

Article Snapshot

Author(s)

Lawrence Lessig

Source

Harper's magazine, April 2007, page 4

Summary

This letter to the editor addresses the boundary between plagiarism and creativity.

Policy Relevance

Creativity requires borrowing from the work of others, but one should give them credit.

Main Points

  • An earlier essay in Harper’s Magazine does a good job of describing the importance of “remixing” to creativity.

  • We cannot create without drawing on the work of others.

  • The essay, however, used a sentence from Lessig's own work without giving him credit. This is very close to plagiarism.

  • If you use another’s words verbatim, you should not have to get permission first, but you should give him or her credit. 

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