Harvard Plagiarism Archive


"[T]he problem of writers . . . passing off the work of others as their own . . . [is] a phenomenon of some significance."
PROFESSOR LAURENCE TRIBE, e-mail to Dean Lawrence Velvel, 9/13/2004

"'I . . . delegated too much responsibility to others . . .,' [Prof. Charles Ogletree] said. 'I was negligent
in not overseeing more carefully the final product that carries my name.' * * * Ogletree told The Crimson that
he had not read the passage of Balkin’s book that appears in his own work. An assistant inserted the material
into a manuscript . . . . But Ogletree said he was closely involved in most of the drafting of the book . . . ."

STEVEN MARKS, "Ogletree Faces Discipline for Copying Text," The Harvard Crimson, 9/13/2004

"'Ronald Klain . . . then only a first-year student at Harvard law . . . spent most of his time with
Tribe working on Tribe's [1985] book God Save This Honorable Court,'" the Legal Times added in 1993.
* * * 'Many of Klain's friends and former colleagues say that he wrote large sections of the book . . . .'"

JOSEPH BOTTUM, "The Big Mahatma," The Weekly Standard, 10/4/2004

"[A]fter several plagiarism scandals broke over distinguished faculty members at Harvard's law school, including
Laurence Tribe,a group of students there set up a blog, Harvard Plagiarism Archive, to follow the University's
handling of the problem. They believe that the University, President Summers, and Dean Elena Kagan
essentially white-washed the scandal and are demanding further action.

PROF. RALPH LUKER, History News Network's "Cliopatria" blog,4/26/2005

“The Tribe and Ogletree matters have catalyzed bitter complaints from Harvard students that the university
employs a double standard. . . . The students have every right to be incensed over this gross double standard.
They in fact ought to raise hell peacefully about it: a constant barrage of letters, emails, statements . . . .”

DEAN LAWRENCE VELVEL, "Velvel on National Affairs" blog, 4/28/2005

"If you want to keep track of this story, I recommend the new Harvard Plagiarism Archive. . . . [I]t's pretty thorough."
TIMOTHY NOAH, Slate's "Chatterbox" blog,9/28/2004

"[Y]ou have done a wonderful service to all by operating the AuthorSkeptics website . . . a fine public service."
DEAN LAWRENCE VELVEL, author of "Velvel on National Affairs," e-mail to AuthorSkeptics, 4/19/2005



Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Harvard Law School Parody


In a fascinating development, Harvard Law School students in a recent annual parody production included a song parodying Professors Tribe and Ogletree for their plagiarism. Indeed, the students seem so intent on using humor to spotlight the plagiarism issue that they recently released an audio of the song, and the lyrics, to both Howard Bashman of the "How Appealing" blog, and
The Weekly Standard, which as you may recall last September published one of the first articles on Professor Ogletree's plagiarism (our coverage of that and other stories can be found here), and then broke the news about Professor Tribe's plagiarism of Professor Abraham.

(Hat tip: Howard Bashman was the first to cover this development, here, when he linked to the audio of the song, "I'm Larry Tribe," which can be found here. Shortly thereafter, he posted the full lyrics to the song here.)

The song is hilarious in its depiction of Professor Tribe's plagiarism and his downfall as a result of coverage of Professor Ogletree's plagiarism, which then prompted the tip about Professor Tribe's own plagiarism after Professor Tribe had the temerity to comment on Dean Velvel's blog about the significant problem of some scholars passing off others' work as their own (see Sept. 29, 2004, e-mail from Joseph Bottum at the end of this post). We think the song is a good illustration of our comment last October, following Judge Posner's joke about the plagiarism scandals during a trip to Harvard Law School, and following a similar joke by Professor Brian Leiter, that if the professors involved and the administration will not candidly face this issue, at least the rest of us can have a bit of fun, and try to keep the spotlight on the issue, by joking about it (see here, under both our introductory comments about Professor Tribe and under the item dated Oct. 19, 2004).

For the brief item in
The Weekly Standard mentioned by Mr. Bashman, see here.

If any reader saw the parody production and has any additional information or comments for us, please let us know. We will do our best to reach out to various students, in particular the writers of the parody production, for comment, either on or off the record.


UPDATE (3/30)

Browsing through our referral logs, we just noticed what appears to be a further effort by Harvard Law School students to publicize their parody of Professors Tribe and Ogletree, through a new "Harvard Parody" blog, located at harvardparody.blogspot.com.

The person(s) behind it go by the pseudonym "Frumpy the HLS Clown," who apparently is some sort of unofficial mascot of the Harvard Law School Drama Society which does the law school parody production each year. It's unclear to us whether "Frumpy" is an actual student at the law school, like the student who writes "Fenno" for the law school newspaper, or just a character who has appeared in past productions; perhaps someone could clarify this for us. We will also try to contact "Frumpy" at the e-mail address listed on the blog (revengeoftheclown@hotmail.com), and we will report anything we learn.

We thank "Frumpy" for the several links to our blog. We will try to return the favor by covering any further developments on the Harvard Parody blog, at least regarding plagiarism at Harvard. To date, at least based on a quick check of search engines mentioning the blog, it appears to have received little attention, perhaps due to its rather over-the-top, overtly mean-spirited tone (which is evidently an aspect of the "Frumpy the HLS Clown" persona, or perhaps a parody of that persona) which may make bloggers reluctant to link to it. As for us, if it relates to plagiarism at Harvard, we have no such reluctance!

For the brief mentions of the Harvard Parody blog to date, see:

The post of Harvard law student Amber Taylor on the blog, and her update denying she is "Frumpy," here.

The humorous post of lawyer Tom Veal, here.

Two minor posts, here and here.

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