5 Stories of Plagiarism in 2017


You may think of plagiarism only as something that students do when they are writing papers for school assignments. But did you know that plagiarism can also happen in the professional world, and sometimes even happens to well-known people and celebrities? Here are 5 famous instances of plagiarism from this past year that should inspire you to always cite your sources.

Rapper Sued for Copyright Infringement

Earlier this year, jazz musician Abdul Wali Muhammad sued Chance the Rapper for copyright infringement. In the 8-page suit, Muhammad claims that Chance used his song, “Bridge Through Time,” without his permission in the track, “Windows,” from the rapper’s debut mixtape in 2012 (Tingley). The case is still pending decision at the time this article was written.

Hillary Clinton’s Pastor Plagiarizes Material in his New Book

Less than a month after its release, Strong for a Moment Like This, a book written by Hillary Clinton’s pastor, the Rev. Bill Shillady, had to be pulled from shelves. The book’s publisher Abingdon Press made the decision to cancel sales of the book after it was revealed that Shillady had copied and published a prayer in the book that had previously been credited to the Rev. Matt Deuel of Mission Point Community Church in Warsaw, Indiana. Clinton had previously said that the prayer had helped her through the days following her election loss to Donald Trump (Zauzmer).

Author Accused of Using Spyware to Steal Book Material from Boyfriend

 The former boyfriend of author Emma Cline alleges that Cline installed spyware on her computer before selling it to him in order to access his private email accounts. He further claims that she used the information in his email to plagiarize his writing for her eventual bestseller, The Girls, the first installment in a three-book Penguin Random House deal that reportedly topped $2 million. The author is countersuing (Associated Press).

Trump Nominee Accused of Plagiarizing Answers to Congress

Kathleen Hartnett White, nominated by President Donald Trump to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality, is accused by congressional Democrats of stealing her answers to questions about her opinions on various science and policy issues. Some of the wording in her statements were found to be identical to those in prior submissions from nominees for other top EPA jobs (Geman).

Artist and Museum Found Guilty of Copyright Infringement

A French court ruled that American artist Jeff Koons copied work from a French photographer for one of his most celebrated sculptures, Naked. The judges upheld the claim made by the family of photographer Jean-François Bauret that the porcelain sculpture of two naked children had been copied from a 1975 postcard picture of his entitled Enfants. Koons and the Pompidou Centre in Paris had to pay the late photographer’s estate a sum of €40,000, roughly $50,000 (Abrams).

Works Cited

Create citations likes these below, which are in MLA Format, or even APA citations, and more with EasyBib’s citation tools.

Abrams, Amah-Rose. “Jeff Koons and Pompidou Lose Copyright Infringement Case.” Artnet News, 10 Mar. 2017, news.artnet.com/art-world/jeff-koons-pompidou-lose-copyright-infringement-case-887324.

Associated Press Staff. “Emma Cline Countersues after Ex Claims She Used Spyware to Plagiarise His Work.” The Guardian, 30 Nov. 2017, www.theguardian.com/books/2017/nov/30/emma-cline-countersues-after-ex-claims-she-used-spyware-to-plagiarise-his-work.

Geman, Ben. “Top White House Enviro Pick Rebuts Plagiarism Charges.” Axios, 15 Dec. 2017, www.axios.com/top-white-house-enviro-pick-rebuts-plagiarism-charges-2517514736.html.

Tingley, Anna. “Chance the Rapper Sued for Copyright Infringement.” Billboard, 13 Sept. 2017, www.billboard.com/articles/news/7964711/chance-the-rapper-sued-copyright-infringement.

Zauzmer, Julie. “Book by Hillary Clinton’s Pastor Will Be Pulled from Shelves Due to Extensive Plagiarism.” The Washington Post, 5 Sept. 2017, www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/09/05/book-by-hillary-clintons-pastor-will-be-pulled-from-shelves-due-to-extensive-plagiarism/?utm_term=.945e30023385.


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About the Author

Elise Barbeau

Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s degree in History/Art History, and earned her Master’s degree in Public History/Library Science from St. John’s University. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, running, and cheering on the Yankees/Islanders/Jets. She lives and works in New York.