You are on page 1of 3

THHS English 2

Russell Katz 1/7/12

Misattribution of any quotation from a body of literature, renders that whole written matter invalid or deprecated, because if exposed, the misattributer can potentially be accused of hearsay, plagiarism, or defamation in a United States Court of Law. All of these legal conjectures can be argued in a Court of Law and have been used to sentence poor vulnerable defendants to prison and along with that, have been sued for tremendous sums of money. Although the simple, common misconception of falsely attributing a remark to another person seems menial or trivial to the average citizen, it is detrimental in the sight of any legal character. Hearsay, defined in Oxford's English Dictionary, denotes itself as information received from other people which cannot be substantiated or just plain simply: a rumor (Definition of Hearsay) . In other words, if you were to write a research paper or an essay based on a conjecture someone said, but in reality they never actually said that, it would be wrong to write an essay on that subject matter. As an example, Salvador Dali, the renowned Spanish surrealist, never said Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. This quotation was in fact remarked by Edgar Degas, a French artist famous for his work in sculpting. How could you write something based on a false conjecture? Dali never said any of this. It is in fact hearsay. Rule 802 of the Federal Rules of Evidence states that Hearsay [in a court of law] is not admissible unless any of the following provides otherwise: a federal statute; these rules; or other rules prescribed by the Supreme Court. (Rule 802) None of the three listed exceptions cover the invalid use of a misattributed quotation, rendering it hearsay, further rendering it nonsense. There have been many famous cases of plagiarism around the world, and be assured that it is not to be dealt lightly with. The music industry always finds itself battling new cases of plagiarism. In one of the more famous cases of February 1976, the judge of the case fined the defendant, George

Harrison, an amount of $587,000.00 (George Harrison v Bright Tunes Music Corp). He was found guilty for subconscious plagiarism where one of his musical pieces resembled the same note sequence and rhythm of a song manufactured by Bright Tunes (Bright Tunes Music Corp). Imagine if a sequence of notes 8 or so notes found someone guilty for almost six hundred thousand dollars. How much could the misattribution of 54 characters (Art is not what you see, but what you make others see) cost? Misattribution of a quote leads the reader to believe that someone owns someone else's work. Not only is original speaker falsely accused (indirectly) of saying what he didn't say, but you are also accusing him of doing so. This slanderous act brings me to my next point: defamation. Defamation, or commonly known as libel, is a false statement that harms a person's reputation. If [that] statement is published, it is libel (Defamation). The not-so-famous case of Buckley v Fitzsimmons et al. shows Buckley's struggle and inevitable jail sentence (Buckley v. Fitzsimmons) and tries, under 42 USC 1983 (the civil action for deprivation of rights) to win his case (42 USC 1983). However, Robbins, a witness in the murder, unfortunately died before Buckley's retrial and he walked a free man. But if the sentence had been fully delivered, he would have most likely been behind bars for the rest of his life for many felonies, including defamation, or slander. A falsely indicated quotation may have (indirectly or not) slandered the incorrect speaker into saying something he never said, Regardless, any factual piece of evidence renders itself invalid if the whole basic underlying foundation has been miscommunicated from the start. Overall, the misattribution of a quote leaves its face value meaning concealed and therefore cannot be used as a factual piece of evidence. In any official Court of Law in the United States, the claims of hearsay, plagiarism, and defamation are valid conjectures and may be used against you. These offenses are quite serious and shouldn't be considered lightly.

THHS English 2 Works Cited "42 USC 1983." LII. Cornell University, n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/1983>.

Russell Katz 1/7/12

"Bright Tunes Music Corp. v. Harrisongs Music, Ltd." Student Law. Texas Tech University, n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2013. <http://www.studentweb.law.ttu.edu/cochran/Cases%20&%20Readings/CopyrightUNT/bright_tunes_music_corp_v.htm>. "Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259 (1993)." LII. Cornell University, 22 Feb. 1993. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/91-7849.ZS.html>. "Defamation." LII. Cornell University, n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/defamation>. "Definition of Hearsay." Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford, n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. <http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/hearsay?q=hearsay>. "George Harrison vs Bright Tunes Music Corp." Famous Copyright Infringement Plagiarism Cases in Music. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013. <http://www.fairwagelawyers.com/most-famous-musiccopyright-infringment.html> "Rule 802. The Rule Against Hearsay." LII. Cornell University, n.d. Web. 07 Jan. 2013.

<http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/rule_802>