Plagiarism news round up for July

Round up of plagiarism stories for July

It’s been a month since I last waded through the news archives and gave a round up of what was going on in the World of plagiarism. So there’s plenty to report, from Harry Potter to Leona, Rihanna to John Legend – it’s all happening this month. When will people learn?

Gwendolyn Griffith Adell , a Gary charter school administrator accused of plagiarizing parts of her doctoral dissertation has resigned from Indiana’s State Board of Education (Chicago-Sun Times, July 29th).

David LaChapelle’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Rihanna has a date for its first hearing: August 10 in New York City. The photographer alleges that Rihanna’s video for “S&M” plagiarizes its “composition, total concept, feel, tone, mood, theme, colours, props, settings, decors, wardrobe and lighting” directly from some of his most famous photographs (Jezebel, July 26, 2011).

Johann Hari , a journalist who was suspended by The Independent, is set to be stripped of the Orwell Prize, Britain’s most prestigious political writing prize, because of growing evidence that he made up or plagiarised quotes (The Times, July 26).

johnlegend1-150x150R&B star John Legend , who has been accused by songwriter Anthony Stokes of ripping off his demo song, has vehemently denied the allegation and vowed to fight the case in court (Indo-Asian News Service, July 22nd).

The Quebec Court of Appeal confirmed that the production company Cinar, Ronald A. Weinberg, the late Micheline Charest, Christophe Izard, France Animation, Ravensburger FILM + TV Gmbh and RTV Family Entertainment AG did plagiarize Claude Robinson’s ideas and work, and deprived him of his copyright on the television series Robinson Sucroë. However, the Court considerably reduced the damages from $ 5,224.293 to $2,736.416 (July 21st).

A HARRY POTTER plagiarism lawsuit which was dismissed in both Britain and the U.S. could rise again as the plaintiffs look into launching a new case in Australia.

Harry potter plagiarism suit
Above: An unsuccessful plagiarism claim was made against J.K. Rowling, alleging parts of her 2000 novel Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were lifted from Jacobs’ Willy The Wizard stories.

The trustee of late writer Adrian Jacobs’ estate filed suit against author J.K. Rowling and her U.K. publishers Bloomsbury in Britain, and her American representatives at Scholastic back in 2009, alleging parts of her 2000 novel Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire were lifted from Jacobs’ Willy The Wizard stories (WENN Entertainment News Wire Service, July 21).

leona-lewis-awi-51-199x300Upon the release of her new single “Collide’ last week, Leona Lewis was almost immediately accused of plagiarism. Fans and critics are speaking out against Leona’s Sandy Vee-produced song, labeling it as a rip-off of DJ/producer/remix master Avicii’s dance beat “Penguin’ (July 20th, AOL Weblogs delivered by Newstex).

Embattled Professor Bhavin Mehta has scored a win in his defamation action against Ohio University, which had refused to renew Mehta’s contract after he was linked to a plagiarism scandal (Trademark Law Community Blog, July 20).

Aabid Surti , creator of the cartoon characters Dabbuji and Bahadur, is in the news for suing the makers of the Bollywood film Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge? (In English, “Dear Guest, When Will You Leave?’) that released in March 2010 for allegedly using the story from his book Bahattar Saal Ka Bachcha published way back in 1975.  The writer has been fighting the case for a long time and has now moved the high court against the distributors and producers of the film Warner Bros and Kumar Mangat for copying his story (DNA, July 19).

TVNZ current affairs show Close Up has been accused of plagiarising a clip that had aired on United States television. A segment on the show, entitled Made in New Zealand, was said to be almost identical to a show aired in the United States on the ABC network in January – in parts, word-for-word identical (The Dominion Post, July 18).

michaelmcadoo1-150x150I’ve commented on this story separately but a quick mention … the News & Observer scanned football player Michael McAdoo’s paper with our very own online plagiarism detection program,, and found that 39 percent of the content matched other material (The News & Observer, July 17).

One Russia’s leaders have said that the “Militia” which is being created by the Communist Party is copying the ideas of the All-Russia People’s Front . “The leaders of the Communist Party have decided to fully copy the ideas and projects of the All-Russia People’s Front. Plagiarism is always a sign of intellectual weakness and a recipe for defeat,” acting secretary of the presidium of the General Council of One Russia Sergey Neverov said today (BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union, July 16).

Another high-profile German politician has been stripped of a doctorate for plagiarism. The faculty of philosophy at the University of Bonn has announced that it is annulling the doctorate of MEP Jorgo Chatzimarkakis , a member of the liberal Free Democrats (FDP). Jorgo tried to explain away his bad habit, blaming it on a stint at Oxford in the 1990s. The plagiarism case follows those of former defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and MEP Silvana Koch-Mehrin (The Guardian, July 15).

After an extensive review, Steve Penn , a columnist for the Kansas City Star, has been fired by the news-paper for plagiarism. Penn took various material from news and press releases and published it as his own (Jul. 14, Digital Journal delivered by Newstex).

Johann Hari , columnist and interviewer for the UK’s Independent newspaper, has been suspended by the publication for two months following claims of plagiarism.  Hari, one of harshest critics of Dubai during the global financial crash, who described the city as being “morally bankrupt”, has been accused of lifting quotes from past interviews and books to use in his copy without attributing the source (, July 13).

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have sought to downplay plagiarism charges against its director Dr R C Deka, saying there was an “inadvertent” error in a writeup and a request for correction was forwarded to the journal’s editor.  Dr Ramesh Chandra Deka was at the centre of a controversy after a study of AIIMS published last year had reproduced some passages from a 2005 study. The AIIMS Director was the lead author of the writeup (The Press Trust of India, July 12).

Two days since a confidential enquiry was ordered by Devi Ahilya Vishwa Vidyalaya (DAVV) vice-chancellor Ashutosh Mishra into charges of plagiarism in Doctoral thesis by Institute of Management Studies (IMS) academic director Dr Jayant Sonwalkar , a three member committee has been formed for conducting investigation (DNA, July 6).

A Czech-American World Computer Chess champion has been stripped of four titles and banned for life from the tournament after being found guilty of plagiarizing software. In a statement, the International Computer Games Association said Vasik Rajlich’s Rybka program was copied from two other programs. The organization also wants him to return all prize money (The Prague Post, July 6, 2011).

Comedy clan the Wayans Brothers are heading to trial later this month to fight allegations the siblings plagiarised jokes written by a former assistant and published them as their own (WENN Entertainment News Wire Service, July 4).

Finally, controversy’s child, singer, rapper Ishq Bector might have graduated to becoming a music director, but not without any blow-ups. Ishq, who churned out the recent chartbuster number Ishq da keeda for Bheja Fry 2. The producers of the film along with Ishq were blatantly accused of stealing the song (DNA, July 1).

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