CriticalDance Forum

Intellectual Property
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Author:  salzberg [ Wed Jan 24, 2007 7:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Intellectual Property

Over the years, we've had several discussions about intellectual property rights. These discussions have usually centered on a choreographer's or designer's right (or lack of
same) to his/her creations. Here's an interesting twist that just happened to

I recently submitted a resume in response to an ad; it was accompanied by a version of my standard cover letter. Yesterday, I got a response by email, acknowledging my submission and telling me that they'd be deciding soon. The writer then added this:

"FYI- the (your) following paragraph was sent to me in another submission for designer, word for word...."

...And then she quoted a fairly long passage from my letter. There's no way someone else could have replicated this by accident; it's too long, and it's definitely in my style. It would be a coincidence just short of monkeys/typewriters/Shakespeare.

So I don't know whether to be angry, flattered, amused, or some combination of the three.

On the one hand, I have no idea how many other people have received the same text from both of us, and I suppose some of them might think that I was the one who copied the other writer. On the other hand, it's definitely written in my style, and I'm betting that it's very different from the style of the remainder of the plagiarist's letter, so it's probably fairly obvious who copied from whom.

I'm also wondering how the plagiarist came by my cover letter in the first place, although I suppose it's possible that s/he works at a company with whom I've previously corresponded.

My guess is that my final reaction will largely be based on whether or not I get the gig.

Author:  Frank N. [ Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:18 am ]
Post subject: 

That’s awful! You wrote, “I'm betting that it's very different from the style of the remainder of the plagiarist's letter, so it's probably fairly obvious who copied from whom.” I can’t help wondering, “how much you’re willing to bet.” The odds may be in your favor, but I would think that being accused falsely of plagiarism would be so dangerous that you’re developing a defense strategy.

Posting here will help, but perhaps you have a friend to whom you sent the same cover letter a few years ago. I’m sure search files are kept for quite a while…

Best wishes,

Author:  salzberg [ Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:26 am ]
Post subject: 

I've only been using this particular text for a few months -- a year at the most.

Without (ahem) bragging (well, too much), I often get compliments on the quality of my cover letter*, so I'm thinking that if the plagiarist were as good a writer as I, s/he wouldn't need or want to copy me.

* Which fact you might not guess from my writing on criticaldance.

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Jan 25, 2007 6:46 pm ]
Post subject: 

It's like a bizarre form of identity theft.

I hope you work it all out, Jeff.

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