Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Court condemns copying from Wikipedia

A court recently took a lawyer to task for both plagiarism and citing Wikipedia as authority. U.S. v. Sypher, Criminal Action No. 3:09-CR-00085, 2011 WL 579156 (W.D. Ky. Feb. 9, 2011). In that case, a lawyer copied his discussion of the law from the Internet encyclopedia. The court condemned the copying as professional misconduct and reminded the lawyer that Wikipedia is not appropriate legal authority.



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» Citing Wikipedia as Authority? What was Counsel Thnking? from UPDATES IN MICHIGAN FAMILY LAW
A lawyer was cited as engaging in professional misconduct by a federal court for copying and pasting verbatim discussion of the law in a brief from the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia. Subsequently, the court again condemned the lawyer for not having l... [Read More]

Tracked on Apr 8, 2011 7:51:51 AM


Is this the Rick Pitino extortion case?

Posted by: JF | Apr 5, 2011 12:40:06 PM

This story fascinates me. Like many such similar stories, I followed the link to read the original opinion and was diverted to WestLaw. While most legal writers may well use WL, I do not. I can usually find the original source with a little digging on official websites (entries on this blog have predictably excellent source citations). So, a mild suggestion: consider linking to public website when available. In the case of this story, the original memorandum opinion can be found on the Court's own website: [http://www.kywd.uscourts.gov/cases/usa_v_sypher/pdf/entry223.pdf] (see p.6, n.4). A more recent opinion revisits the issue, as the attorney in question had apparently not learned his lesson: [http://www.kywd.uscourts.gov/cases/usa_v_sypher/pdf/entry258.pdf] (p.5, n.4).

Posted by: John L. Fritz | Apr 6, 2011 5:16:23 AM

http://www.kywd.uscourts.gov/cases/usa_v_sypher/pdf/entry258.pdf has a typo in its first para., the conviction could not have been in August 2011.... so much for judicial QC.

Posted by: fendertweed | Apr 8, 2011 6:18:07 AM

Really interesting article! For blog posts related to legal writing, check out Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB)'s blog at http://blog.ceb.com/

Also, check out CEB's program Smith on Persuasive Legal Writing, available On Demand and for MCLE credit.


Posted by: Julie Brook | Apr 12, 2011 2:46:17 PM

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Posted by: Gary Melari | Apr 16, 2011 2:55:37 AM

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