Advice for Guttenberg & Alice Hutchison: If you plagiarized, ‘fess up’

Express: The cheater-baron / Rheinische Post: Ultimatum: Plaßmann in Frankfurter Rundschau: Gutti und the consequences / Die Zeit: PhD Plagiarism / Focus: Conference with the the chancellor



To err is human. German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg made a serious mistake when he copied other authors’ work. But after this week’s revelations, he is making an even more serious mistake: denying the plagiarism. Doing so in the face of overwhelming evidence can only tangle him in contradictions and rob him of his credibility. It’s a losing tactic.

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I know – from bitter, personal experience. My daughter Miriam was the victim of plagiarism by the author Alice Hutchison and her publisher, London-based Black Dog Publishing. Both vehemently denied that plagiarism occurred. They claimed to have had permission to copy without citing their source. They claimed not to have copied at all. They claimed that the work of students is okay to copy. They claimed that after all, the whole thing was a mere trifle.

The result for both Hutchison and Black Dog Publishing was a serious blow to their reputations. Berlin’s Humboldt University confirmed and condemned the plagiarism. Leading academics and film experts around the world now know that the book in question contains many passages that were copied from other authors (not just Miriam). Numerous libraries removed the book from their collections. Hutchison and Black Dog Publishing have maneuvered themselves into a dead end by insisting stubbornly on their position and refusing to accept liability for their blatant errors. And that is counterproductive.

I can only counsel Minister Guttenberg: Admit the plagiarism openly and courageously. Ask for forgiveness. Limit the damage as quickly as possible. It is never too late to acknowledge and correct a mistake (that’s still true, by the way, for Black Dog Publishing).

Please read also / Lesen Sie bitte auch diese Beiträge:

Guttenberg, Plagiat, Schande: in Deutschland darf man nach Herzenslust abschreiben!!!

President of Humboldt University of Berlin denounces plagiarist Alice Hutchison

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