Being from the Arabic world, I bring two different almost contradicting views on intellectual property; the first goes back to the ancient pre-Islam era, where beautiful poetry and Arabic literature were the primary sources of creativity. At that time, it was not for entertainment, but an essential part of the social system, it was an indispensable tool, a required skill. Those poems were not recorded until after 250 years later in the 8th century.
Later during the Islamic era, it witnessed more effects similar to what we have today. Any poetry plagiarism is officially and socially punished; it was considered as a crime. That was the earliest rules and concepts for intellectual property, stealing someone else’s words, efforts and ideas were rejected.
The second view comes from nowadays in several Arab countries. However, people are well educated about intellectual property practices. There is still no clear actions taken on scientific or literature thefts. It is very common that people steal other’s work and effort. The main sources include textbooks, magazines, or publications. Earlier, before the internet, it was hard to check the authenticity of any work. Academics used to have long discussion sessions with students to validate their papers manually, but then with a powerful Google search, a simple click might be enough.
People realize the importance of giving credit to each other’s, but only those hard workers manage to do so. In practice, the average person wants the job done. Thus he will find a similar research/assignment online. One of the worst plagiarism forms I encountered is the literature theft from other cultures, where they might translate content from a different language and claim it as their original work, subject matter experts quickly discover such acts.
Personally, as part of a previous position in the research and development department, conducting marketing, technical, and solution researchers was one of the key tasks that I did successfully. Citation and referencing were not required, yet we used to attach a list of references as resources for readers to explore more.
Can you reflect on your own experience? Share your story.