"Between Intellectual Property, Kinship, and Slavery:
The Strange Lives of Plagiarism"
ABSTRACT: An increasing number of scientific articles are reprinted (partially or fully, in the original language or in translation) by other scientists who then attach their own names to them. Simultaneously, some grant proposals are being plagiarized by peer reviewers entrusted with their evaluation. An analysis of these appropriations shows that plagiarism, while often analogized to copyright infringement, is conceptually very distinct from it. Because it involves the disruption of the relationship between the work and the name of the author, I argue that plagiarism should be better conceptualized as a “crime of kinship” – a reading encouraged by images of kidnapping and enslavement common in the earliest discussions of plagiarism. This perspective proves much more effective at identifying the specific damages produced by these forms of appropriation while also providing a new window on the nature of the author function in science.
BIO: Mario Biagioli is a Distinguished Professor of Law and Science and Technology Studies (STS), and Director of the new Center for Innovation Studies at UC Davis. At the law school, he teaches courses on intellectual property in science, and on the history and philosophy of intellectual property.