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Lesson from Audi's plagiarism scandal

By Zhao Manfeng | | Updated: 2022-05-23 10:26
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An Audi China designer explains the concept's interior design in April. [Photo provided to]

In the age of social media, we spend most of our time online, either scrolling through news and short video feeds or writing down our thoughts and sharing posts.

It is not unusual for people to take a copy of a written post and post it as their own. And when this occurred to well-known carmaker Audi, a swift online backlash was triggered about the infringement of original creation by others.

Carmaker Audi and its advertising agency M&C Saatchi on Sunday apologized for running a video campaign featuring superstar Andy Lau Tak-wah, following accusations of plagiarism.

The ad showed Andy Lau delivering a monologue about Xiaoman, or grain buds, – the second solar term of summer, according to the Chinese lunar calendar – from the back seat of an Audi, which it turned out was an almost copy-and-paste, word for word, from an original video published a year ago on Douyin, the Chinese version of short video platform TikTok, by a vlogger who goes by the name of "Beida Mange".

This teaches us a lesson that plagiarism, contract violations, citation standards issues and plagiarism education should not be ignored, as the shape of them has changed from pre–internet days. Traditionally, plagiarism is associated with literary works, but today, many violations occur in the daily process of content creation.

Mange said stealing original creation by others as a moneymaking tool should make us think about what the world is encouraging.

Most of the time, people copy others' content creation because they care about the number of likes and shares, as that can also turn into money incentives. When something goes viral, it is not uncommon to see similar content going up as people copy the creation as their own hoping to get the same attention.

There's no plagiarism police on the internet, so you can copy whatever you want, pretend it's yours and no one will know who the original creator was.

While in the process of improving our plagiarism detecting system through technical solutions, everyone should be educated and take responsibility for creating authentic and unique content.


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