In mass society, problems related to plagiarism and authorship can take on bizarre characteristics. Where large-scale organizations prevail, the head man is presumed to be too busy, too engaged, and too important to write his own speeches, policy papers, books, or letters to the editor. Instead, he has a staff of information specialists, aides, consultants, and public relations men who write for him. His name on the title page symbolizes his temporary acceptance of a document concocted for him. Convention requires that the nominal author be treated as the actual author —unless, after receiving an unfavorable response, the nominal author denies responsibility for “his” unfortunate statements by claiming that he has not read them.
In one highly publicized case, a university president was exposed for lifting a speech verbatim from a learned journal. He successfully defended himself by claiming that he had not written his speech....
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