Is it Piracy and Plagiarism, or is it Creativity and Innovation?


February 28, 2013 by mgontovn

The idea of school is that it’s supposed to teach us core values, information, and a guided path towards success. Teachers will lecture their students, make them read textbooks, and memorize facts in order to get a grade on a test. Learn this, memorize that, and then get into a good College so you can be successful with your life. Students are trained as robots, where everybody acts and thinks the same displaying virtually no sign of creativity and personal intuition.

But how does this apply to the real world?

In most reality it doesn’t. School has the ability to teach us dangerous things such as, for starters, “the people in charge have all the answers”. That’s why they are so wealthy and happy, and healthy and powerful. Another example is “the best and the brightest follow the rules”. If everyone decided to follow the rules than won’t this lead to zero innovation and a lack of creativity? In order to be creative or innovative, one must think differently and therefore act differently as well. Some might say that there is a very clear, single path to success or what the books say is always true. I say be yourself and you will eventually find your way in this so called crazy mixed up world in which we live in.

Here is a very interesting TED Talk – one of my favourites I’ve seen to date

Sir Ken Robinson concludes that as we grow up we are fearful of being wrong. We lose our creativity as we age and this hinder’s our ability to innovate. The bottom line: are schools killing students creativity?

Is more power determined by more information?


The graph above definitely suggests this theory, but there are many more factors that aren’t observed by this diagram. Most of what schools teaches us is memorizing random facts, to get a good grade on a test, so we can get into a good College and eventually end up being successful.

Lets compare the classroom to the real world

You are a junior executive and your boss tells you to find the most current research on a company. So you go to Google, and search for information on the most current research on the topic that has already been done by the most knowledgeable and respected experts. You copy it, add new information you stumbled upon, digitize it, and collaborate it into a document that you give to your boss. Most people would call this good research.

In the classroom we call it plagiarism. So does this display plagiarism or creativity?

This is just one example of how the real world and the classroom can result in such different outcomes. Who ever you are, or where ever you go, we are all to live up to certain expectations in life.

But where do you draw the line from plagiarism and piracy to innovation and creativity?

In order for someone to innovate something it must already be established. A clear example of this is the MP3 player, which was called “The Audio Player”, and the first portable digital audio player released to the general public in 1998 for around $200.


The first ever audio player released in 1998

Fast forward 4 years later, to see Apple’s first generation iPod, with a 5 GB hard drive. The MP3 player already existed before Apple released it’s own version, which pirated that technology and created its own phenomena. This eventually led to music fans having the ability to share music with one another inspiring digital music sites such as Napster, developed by Sean Parker. Now some people may consider this a form of stealing, while others may interpret this as an act of making something better.

Piracy is another form of stealing whether its uploading music for peers, illegally copying and distributing music CD’s, to selling bootlegged DVD’s. This is no different than students using Limewire to share music files or teachers publishing free resources online that are licensed commodities of companies or publishers. Determining the difference is crucial and to bring awareness to this topic of piracy in education. Everywhere you turn there are an abundance of teachers so called stealing lesson plans from other teachers, the Internet, or other various forms of acquiring these lesson plans. Now if that teacher changes a few topics, incorporates their ideas, and perceive that information different is it still an act of plagiarism and piracy, or, creativity and innovation. On one hand, yes they in fact took someone else’s work and used it towards their own gratification. Turning towards the other hand you see an enthusiastic teacher who wants nothing more than to teach and inspire their students. That doesn’t seem harmful at all and an innocent act of giving their students the best possible education. There are so many ways to interpret different reactions to different outcomes.

Music pirating is not only committed by criminals, but also average people, who either willingly or unknowingly, pirated these commodities everyday and they are equally prosecuted.


Is it wrong to share music files with family, friends, and peers? This chart shows that over 80% of U.S. individuals share music files with family members. “Let’s recall that there are two conventional ways of talking about the ethics of copying copyrighted stuff–both in relation to the theft of material property.”

  • First: copying is not like theft because its non-rivalrous
  • Second: copying is like theft because steals economic value from the owner


It is extremely important to bring awareness of piracy not only in music downloading/uploading, but education, types of plagiarism towards students, teachers, parents, and most individuals. Educating the citizens is a crucial aspect for change and everyone must participate in order for a difference to be made. A quote from Utah Attorney General Mark Schurtleff saying “Piracy is stealing and it doesn’t just keep Lady Gaga and Angelina Jolie from making a few extra dollars”. It is more than just the artists that get hurt by these actions including producers, music engineers, record labels, sound editors, the list goes on and on. The bottom line is that people must be aware of their actions and think about the consequences that can arise.

The line separating piracy and plagiarism or creativity and innovation is becoming increasingly smaller overtime. There is no telling what the future brings and knowing what to expect, but the line has t be drawn somewhere so you be the judge!

Works Cited

Britt, Barry S. “Piracy in Education | Copyright | Legal / Grants.” Piracy in Education | Copyright | Legal / Grants. School Video News, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.

Chase, Steven. “Law Cracks down on Digital Piracy in Canada.” The Globe and Mail. N.p., 29 Sept. 2011. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.

Karaganis. “Unauthorized File Sharing: Is It Wrong?” The American Assembly. Columbia University, 4 Oct. 2012. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.

Majette, Sasha. “The Impact: War on Piracy.” War on Piracy. The Impact, 4 Dec. 2012. Web. 27 Feb. 2013.

Mason, Matt. “New 21st Century Skills- Plagiarism and Piracy?” Education Innovation. N.p., 12 Dec. 2009. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.


2 thoughts on “Is it Piracy and Plagiarism, or is it Creativity and Innovation?

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