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A Day Later, Owning Up to Plagiarism

April 25, 2006

On Monday came the accusations (The Chronicle, April 24). Now come the apologies.

The chief executive of the Raytheon Company has admitted that he copied material for his popular book of management wisdom from a 1944 book by an engineering professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, The New York Times reported this morning. The businessman’s euphemistic explanation: He did “not properly credit” the earlier work.

Meanwhile, the Harvard University sophomore accused of lifting material for her debut novel from a 2001 novel, apologized on Monday, and her publisher said it was investigating, The Boston Globe reported. The student’s euphemistic explanation: “I may have internalized” words from the other novel, and “any phrasing similarities” were “completely unintentional and unconscious.”

Her agent even topped that: “As a former teenager myself, I recall that spongelike ability to take popular culture and incorporate it into your own lexicon.”