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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

On "Internalizing" Copyrighted Material

Jessica Silbey at the LawCulture blog (5/9/2006)
looks at the case of Harvard co-ed Kaavya Viswanathan,
accused of plagiarising passages from the works of Megan
McCafferty in her much-hyped debut novel, "How Opal
Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life.” Viswanathan
claimed that she had unconsciously "internalized" beloved
passages from her favorite works and was unaware that the
words were not, in fact, her own.

Silbey asks, "At what point do the narratives we live
(for Viswanathan, the “chick lit” of her youth) become
part of our identity such that we are entitled to express it,
even publish it?"