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…and it’s not just because of the copy and paste buttons

Sofia Hashi | Fulcrum Staff

Photo by Sean Campbell 

WE KNOW IT’S wrong. We know it’s bad. But the allure of plagiarism just doesn’t go away after we learn what the disease-sounding word actually means. Just recently, Margaret Wente, a lead Globe and Mail columnist, found herself in hot water with plagiarism accusations. The newly released movie The Words depicts one author’s ascent to literary immortality through the act of borrowed words. There’s no denying that plagiarism has hit the headlines yet again, and while we’re not saying it’s right—if you think it’s okay, you’re one twisted lazy bum—we can’t refute the fact that it happens. So why do people do it? Here are the top five reasons:

They’re lazy

Writing a piece of awesome literature takes a lot of work. Like, a lot. Ninety-nine per cent of the time it’d be easier to just say, “Nah, I’ll borrow from (insert great literary work) instead.” Many people found guilty of plagiarism can attest that it was pure and simple laziness that led to their demise.

They want to be famous

People want the glory and fame that comes from writing well. In the face of their own literary hang-ups, writing a fantastic piece of prose is difficult—too difficult for them to try, apparently. Students who plagiarize because they want a higher grade and don’t want to risk failing also fit this bill.

They’re afraid of success

This may not be in keeping with the previous reason, but ironically enough, it makes sense. Some people who commit plagiarism are afraid of handing in their own work to be judged—putting yourself out there can be intimidating, even if you don’t plan on becoming the next Ernest Hemingway or J.K. Rowling. Plagiarism is often a misguided attempt by students to keep their own thoughts and ideas out of the limelight.

They have no time

This category is usually reserved for chronic procrastinators. Students who have chosen the “party and bullshit” lifestyle over a more sensible one filled with books and weekend library sessions find themselves looking for a quick fix when all of a sudden their deadline is tomorrow.

The bottom line: Don’t do it

Seriously, folks, don’t plagiarize. While it seems like the easy way out, or a way for you to show off and seem smarter than your contemporaries, plagiarism is detrimental to your academic life and career. It can have life-changing consequences and may cost you a degree. As lame as it may seem, honesty sometimes really is the best damn policy.