I’m not a fan of copycats

Head and shoulders of Chris McCall. Falkirk Herald.

Head and shoulders of Chris McCall. Falkirk Herald.

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Readers can rest assured that this column is an original piece of work and has not been plagiarised from any other source.

I make that declaration as copycats seem to be everywhere, sneekily trying to pass off other people’s work as their own.

There are numerous examples of individuals who have been caught out after they indulged in a cheeky bout of plagiarism.

You could say its a ‘crime’ that’s on the rise due to the computer age.

The words ‘copy and paste’ will need no explanation to students, and – I’m sorry to say – journalists. If an interesting turn of phrase or point of view on a website has caught your eye, it takes a matter of seconds to copy and then insert it into your own essay or report.

I could argue that taking something from one man and making it worse is plagiarism.

Except I won’t, as that’s a quote from Irish novelist George Moore that I lifted directly from the Internet.

Copying is, of course, not a modern phenomenen, and is not restricted to hard-boiled hacks or grasping artists.

Fans of ‘The Railway Children’ – the classic Edwardian adventure story, which was made into a much-loved film of the same name – were outraged when it was widely reported that its author may have ‘borrowed’ a large chunk of the plot.

You know the scene in which the children prevent a train from crashing into a landslide? A virtually identical incident occurs in the little-known children’s novel ‘The House by the Railway’, which was published nine years before E. Nesbit’s book.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

That’s a good line, isn’t it? It’s one of my own.