Mixing is not Plagiarism… really?!?

Related to our conversations about academic integrity, I’m curious to read your thoughts about 17 year-old German author Helene Hegemann’s new novel and the controversy (outrage?) over her “sampling” full pages from another author in her work. Interestingly, Ms. Hegemann has apologized for “not being more open about her sources.” She did not apologize for using another writer’s words without permission, though… she claims that “there’s no such thing as originality anyway.”

Hegemann’s novel rose to #5 on the German best-seller list… and it’s been nominated for a prestigious writing prize, too. Read the full story HERE and then post your comments…


About Dr. Ostroff
Head of Upper School at The Emery/Weiner School in Houston, TX

20 Responses to Mixing is not Plagiarism… really?!?

  1. Addison says:

    Okay, I'm an artist and I understand having an inspiration due to someone elses work, however, this seems like a bit of a copy cat. Maybe using a few word or even lines are okay. Just mentioning the inspiration on the book would be better. It's hard to come with something brand new on your own, which I also get, but a whole page? Not a good excuse for that. The book is probably even more popular now though since there's all sorts of drama about it. -Addie A

  2. Well, since everyone is arguing agaisnt Helene Hegemann, im going to argue for her. Dare to be different. Im kidding. What we find wrong here in America can be, and is fine in other places, shes not #5 best seller WHERE SHE IS for nothing. What i strongly disagree with is her statement about originality someone who plagiarizes like she did would say that because obviously someone who was original came up with the things she plagiarized. Give credit where credit is due because even though she is "mixing" (copying) the creator can feel disrepsected, shes taking credit for what they did as if she did it is how i see it when you dont give credit.

  3. marielle says:

    I find it pretty irresponsible to use full pages of someone else's work. As we are doing in English right now, you can get in huge trouble for not giving proper credit. This sets a horrible example for young writers.

  4. Cassie says:

    Wow it's ridiculous how desensitized society has become. If an author had been caught taking entire pages with little change from another author, their book would be completely frowned upon and deemed morally wrong and unfair. However, her book continues to be on the top sellers list. What's worse is her book made it to the finals of a $20,000 prize competition even thought the panel knew about the plagarism claims before they made their decision. I think that this is plagairism and it is distirbing how little action is being taken against her other than spoken protests.Im not sure which is worse, the fact that this girl continues to delude herself wiht the fantasy that her book is 100% her work, or that no one is doing anything about it.

  5. Holly says:

    I am also in agreement with everyone else with the fact that Helene Hegemenn plagarized. Today plagarizing is an extremley big deal, and people must cite in the correct format where they got their ideas, quotes, or any other information that is being used in their personal assignment from. There is a difference between mixing, which people commonly do in songs and certain stories, and plagarizing. When one has taken an idea and mixed it with their own tweeking it here and there so that it is not a direct copy of the origional, that is not looked as badly upon simply because an idea was taken and changed to fit someone elses modified thought. When you take a big portion of something though and not give any credit to the origional thinker that is definetly crossing the line, its not your thought. I think that when Helene Hegemann tried to explain how "there is no such thing as origionality" she sounded so stupid. If people werent origional today then there would be no new innovations, technology, inventions, no new thoughts or ideas being brought forth, and clearly there is alot of that going on around us at this time. Ultimatley she stole another persons origional ideas and she should be somehow punished for that, i dont know how people could still be buying her book without becoming distugsted with the fact that she didnt even write some of it, its annoying.

  6. Jeff says:

    Hegemann was wrong on alot of levels. She didnt take into account that DJs and music producers take small parts of songs, change them, and combine them with either homemade tracks or other small parts; this is "mixing," but what she was doing was clearly plagiarizing. Taking big portions of separate works and not giving credit is plagiarizing and couldn't be anything different where DJs sometimes do give credit unless it isn't needed, where they change the part of a song to not be asserted with the original version. She talks about speaking for our generation, and that really isn't a speaker i would want to represent mine.

  7. stephanie says:

    stephanie sarles.This is in no way 'mixing.' She's just using the word 'mixing' as something to cover up her plagiarism. I agree with the blogger that caught it, that a sentence changed up is understandable, but not an ENTIRE PAGE. That's simply cheating, and I'm sure that if someone copied a page of her book, she wouldn't be too happy.

  8. Cristian says:

    This is plagerism. She did not research or think about what she wrote, but took the ideas of another author. The rewording of someone elses work is simple it does not mean you didnt plagerise. The original author conducted research and analyzed her work, Helene Heggemens did not she copied the hard work of another author into her novel.

  9. joyce says:

    Abbey Rogge posted the last comment 🙂

  10. joyce says:

    I believe that Hegemann is completely wrong. There is such a thing as originality, and her work is not. Everything she thinks she has accomplished is a lie. All the praise she has received for her work is not hers to accept. What she did is 100% plagiarism and there isn't anything she can say to defend herself or to make a case disagreeing. She never should have stolen the work, or she should have given the other author the credit she deserved. Hegemann she no question apologize to Strobo and the public.

  11. Dillon says:

    How she was able to do this is beyond me. Lifting a whole page from another author's book violates all the morales and ethics man should live by. It sounds like to me a young girl was struggling in writing an original work and regressed to usuing the work of another with minor changes. The fact that she did this without giving due credit to the author of "Strobo" shows me what kind of morales she lives by and was raised on. Her excuses for plagirism are just that, excuses. She is stealing the intelectual property of another and should be tried in court for her actions. This is just as bad as stealing someone's personal propert. It is a crime.

  12. I agree with everyone else. This is definitely plagirism. I thought it was funny how she said "there is no such thing as originality." I think that's absolutely ridiculous and she is completely wrong when she makes that statement. You can't just make tiny adjustments to something and then call it your own work.

  13. This is plagiarism 100%. Not only is she claiming (until she was caught) that this work was hers but she is refusing to admit she did something wrong. Her work is illegitimate and it was really surprising especially after reading that she was fully capable of producing works. She already has a play and movie written and released but still she has to steal from other authors? As a book nerd, this is REALLY annoying.

  14. I also agree with what everyone else has said. I think that it is so wrong to do what Hegemann did. As Mr. Pirmasens said, "To take an entire page from an author, as Helene Hegemann admitted to doing, with only slight changes and without asking the author, I consider that illegitimate". In my opinion, she 100% plagiarized from the author of "Strobo", because she basically used on of the author's full pages, and acted like it was her own writing. Also, it really irritates me that people are still buying her novel, I think that is so unfair to the author of "Strobo".

  15. Emily says:

    Emily Cummings^

  16. Emily says:

    I completely agree with the previous comments. Hegemann may find her sources "inspiring" but it is illegal to copy other's work without citing it. She claimed the work of others as her own which is unfair, immoral, and wrong. Hegemann does not deserve the benefits of her novel because it is not entirely her work. In my opinion, she should offer a significant amount of her wealth to the author of "Strobo" and make a public apology that admits her wrongdoing. I am also outraged that the judges of the Leipzig Book Fair still considered her for the prize of $20,000 after knowing she plagiarized.

  17. this comment above is James Cook. I commented from my blog in my leadership class because I didnt know how else to sign in.

  18. I think this is crazy that this authors book is number five in Germany when everyone now knows she stole much of her work from other authors. I dont think she deserves the credit for this book at all. The credit should go to the authors she stole from. Although she doesnt believe this is plagiarism, she obviously has no right to steal pages at a time from other authors without their permission. What I dont get is why her book is being nominated for a writing prize when it is the work of another author. The nomination should go to the other authors book. She believes that "there's no such thing as originality anyway." I doubt she would believe this if someone else stole her work and suddenly rose to the best seller list. I think that all of the money she receives for this book should go to the authors she stole from.

  19. I could not agree with Victoria more. After reading this article, I am appalled at how this girl made such a success for herself by taking credit for what someone else had already written. Helene Hegemann, the author, has apologized but also has defended herself in saying "there’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity." I disagree with this statement and I believe she is contradicting herself because she has written a play and movie as well. I agree with Mr. Primasens' views on the situation of the story being "illegitimate." Hegemann should face the consequences of this crime, it is simply not fair for someone to steal someone else's work, and reap the benefits of it.

  20. . says:

    Victoria Coffee:This is plagiarism, plain and simple. One cannot take credit for stealing someone else’s work. I agree with Mr. Primasens when he said he considered this book “illegitimate” because Helene Hegemann, the “author” took pages from another author’s work, without citation and little change. At 17, she should know that if one takes words from another author, even if “mixed” together, this is still plagiarism. With little effort, her book is at number 5 on the best seller list. It takes many hard-working, authentic authors years to get to the top of the best seller list, yet this girl cheated and made it to the top in a matter of weeks.

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