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Law Prof Plagiarizes Wikipedia in Expert Witness Report
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If you’re a lawyer who is pulling $350 an hour as an expert witness, here’s some advice on plagiarizing Wikipedia when you’re feeling too lazy to write about a topic: Don’t do it. It’s crazy unprofessional, and even if you don’t get penalized for it, that just looks bad. This is Wikipedia we are talking about; any yahoo can sign in and tell you that Washington really had wooden teeth.

Nevertheless, professor James Feinerman now has egg on his face for using Wikipedia, and not only for that, but for plagiarizing it on 13 pages of his 19-page report on Chinese government.

  
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“Feinerman’s pervasive plagiarism from this unreliable and error-prone source, which has been rejected by federal courts all over the country, casts serious doubt on the reliability of his entire testimony,” pointed out Stuart Gassner, lawyer for a California businessman named Walter Liew, indicted last year in a trade secrets case, as reported by Above the Law.

Above the Law also juxtaposed some of the plagiaristic adaptations going on in this paper. Consider these two paragraphs, the first written by Feinerman:

[The Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee] is a secretive and highly trusted agency, and it is at the heart of China’s Leninist party system. It controls the more than 70 million party personnel assignments throughout the national system, and compiles detailed and confidential reports on future potential leaders of the Party.

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Wikipedia reads this way:

The Organization Department is one of the most important organs of the CPC. It is a secretive and highly trusted agency, and forms the institutional heart of the Leninist party system. It controls the more than 70 million party personnel assignments throughout the national system, and compiles detailed and confidential reports on future potential leaders of the Party.



Clearly some noncreative use of a sketchy source of information went into play here, and even if Feinerman escapes charges of plagiarism, it’s a black eye on his professionalism, let there be no doubt.



 

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