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At , the tip-off to one student’s copying was the purple shade of several paragraphs he had lifted from the Web; when confronted by a writing tutor his professor had sent him to, he was not defensive — he just wanted to know how to change purple text to black. And at the , a student reprimanded for copying from Wikipedia in a paper on said he thought its entries — unsigned and collectively written — did not need to be credited since they counted, essentially, as common knowledge. Professors used to deal with plagiarism by admonishing students to give credit to others and to follow the style guide for citations, and pretty much left it at that.
Admittedly, we are a copy and paste culture. In the 1980’s, artists were first dealing with this notion as appropriation and photography came to the fore with likes of Richard Prince and Robert Longo.
By STEVEN JOHNSON In the year following the 2004 tsunami, the Indonesian city of Meulaboh received eight neonatal incubators from international relief organizations. Several years later, when an MIT fellow named Timothy Prestero visited the local hospital, all eight were out of order, the victim of power surges and tropical humidity, along with the hospital staff's inability to read the English repair manual.