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Recognizing and Repairing Plagiarism
 

Mosaic Plagiarism

Mosaic Plagiarism: When a writer bases his or her language very closely around a text, just changing or adding a few words but not adding ideas. The writer does not cite sources that they paraphrased, or put in their own words.

Excerpt from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

Original Text:
Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.

Mosaic Plagiarism:
Sometimes it's clear that a law is fair and justified on its surface and unfair and unjustified in its application. For example, he was arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. And it's clear that there is nothing wrong with having a law that makes a citizen get a permit for a parade. But such a permit law becomes unfair when it is used to enforce segregation and to keep citizens from exercising their First-Amendment rights of peaceful assembly and protest.

How to Fix It: 1) Summarize and cite it; 2) Paraphrase and cite it; or 3) Combine a paraphrase with a direct quote, putting quotation marks around the direct quote, and then citing it. Here is an example of number 3:
In Martin Luther King, Jr.'s (1963) "Letter from Birmingham Jail," he makes a distinction between a just and unjust law wherein he says a law can be just on the surface and unjust in its application. He writes, "For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest" (p.3).


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