A couple of years ago I was asked if I would be willing to write up a little story about copyright for our guild newsletter. Because I work in an academic Library and deal with copyright questions on a regular basis the person asking felt I knew a bit on the topic. I did a fair amount of online research, reading lots of rather repetitive articles, after all, just how much can you say about copyright and quilts. I wrote up a quick story and fired it off to the newsletter editor of the day. This woman promptly fired back an accusation of plagiarism. WHAT! Are you kidding me? I was in total disbelieve, how could this be - I know enough about copyright, I've written lots of essays in my time, how could it have possibly happen to me ? Did it happen to me? I was totally stunned, incensed and of course feeling completely innocent denied all, but promptly rewrote the entire article.
So what's my point? Well, last week while reading my favourite website Arts & Letters I ran across a very interesting article about Oliver Sacks most recent book. For those unfamiliar, Oliver is a world famous, best-selling author, and professor of Neurology at the NYU School of Medicine. The movie "Awakenings" is the true story about his work with encephalitis victims. Robin Williams played the role of Oliver Sacks. One of his books, a favourite of mine, is The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat. But I digress. In this New York Times Review of Books article about the book Speak, Memory, we are informed that Oliver discusses the interesting phenomena of false memories and "appropriation from someone else’s experience" . He goes on to talk about cryptomnesia which he defines as "unconscious plagiarism". Hmmmmmm. After reading Oliver's theory I feel vindicated and my conscience is relieved. Thank You Oliver!. Has this ever happened to you?