I often think of our responsibility as journalists, authors, speakers. What we say, what we write doesn't just make an impact on others but reflects upon us as people. What we write, what we say, what we create is our intellectual property. Many of us have Google Alerts set up to see if anyone has "hijacked" our work. It happens all too often.
Last year I was at an annual Board Meeting for one of the writers' groups of which I'm a member. The then-president was horrified to have received a letter from someone complaining about a member whose local newspaper column was taken, word-for-word, from a major website. That is plagiarism. He was anxious to set up a code of ethics. I often wonder in today's society how many people can define "ethical behavior." How many take pens from the office, walk off with paperclips, and walk away with someone else's words?
What does this say about our society? What are we imparting to the next generation? How can we treat others so shabbily by taking from them their own thoughts and words? How is there any justification for that? Did that writer think she was helping to "share" another writer's words without attribution? I just don't understand the thought processs of someone who could do that. And when caught, there is always some sort of excuse. Excuses don't "cut it." If we cannot think for ourselves, find our own words, our own way to express what we think and feel, perhaps we should be looking to another profession.
Causes Darlene Arden Supports
The Marcia Polimer Abrams Fund for Canine Behavior Studies at the AKC Canine Health Foundation