Update on Food Safety Modernization Act

By Debby Winters

In January 2012, I posted a link to the Food Safety Modernization Act. At that time the Act was one year old.


There has been much progress in the almost 3 years since it was signed into law by President Obama.

For an update, see http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm

Is Imitation Always Plagiarism?

by Debby Winters

“I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.” ― Jimi Hendrix

So, what’s the big deal about plagiarism? Everyone does it. Right? Well, not everyone, but a lot of people do. A recent example is Sen. Rand Paul. When questioned about it, he said he was being held to an unfair standard. Wonder why he thinks the standard he is being held to is any different from the one every student, every politician, and everybody is held to? He went on to say that he was going to start putting footnotes on his speeches and anyone who requested a copy with the footnotes would be given one. Nice try, Sen. Paul

One of the problems with plagiarism is the subject of Jimi Hendrix’s quote, that if one person makes a mistake, that mistake is perpetuated by just copying the work of another. I recently had this happen in a class that I teach. One student did the work, with mistakes, and other students merely copied the answer, with the mistake-which made it more than obvious what had happened. Whether Sen. Paul has perpetuated the mistakes of others has not come to light but in one speech he used word-for-word Wikipedia entries. And while Wikipedia entries have references cited, since most of the content is voluntary, the accuracy of the information is not always checked so Sen. Paul may indeed end up perpetuating mistakes with his word-for-word Wikipedia speeches.

Additionally, Sen. Paul took the language for some written op-ed articles directly from articles written by another person. Not only is this a blatant example of plagiarism, but it is a blatant violation of copyright. Copyright infringement cases are filed every day. One huge copyright case that was just decided was against the search-engine giant, Google, Inc. This suit was brought challenging Google’s right to digitally copy millions of books for online searches using its Google Books. The courts decided that Google Books provides a public benefit and therefore fits into the fair use exception to copyright infringement. Maybe Sen. Paul needs to think about this as his next line of defense. I’m not sure how he would swing that but we all know the Sen. Paul is creative, well, as long as someone has already said it before him.