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.
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design