7 of the Biggest Plagiarism Scandals to Rock Politics and Pop Culture
At the 2016 Republican National Convention, Donald Trump's wife Melania took to the stage to deliver a speech that struck many as eerily similar to Michelle Obama's 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN
Vice President Joe Biden
Harrison made his solo debut with the hit single "My Sweet Lord" in 1971, after departing The Beatles. While the song climbed the charts, eventually reaching No. 1, critics and fellow musicians alike found the melody of "My Sweet Lord" to be similar to the Chiffons' "He's So Fine." Harrison was ultimately found guilty of "subconscious plagiarism," after the singer claimed he was unaware of having stolen the piece of work. The former Beatle took care of the issue, however, by buying the publishing company that had the rights to "He's So Fine."
While they didn't exactly plagiarize any lyrics, the duo behind '90s group Milli Vanilli – Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan – went down in pop culture history as the sole pair stripped of the Best New Artist Grammy after admitting to lip synching songs. The true voices behind Pilatus and Morvan? A group of vocalists who were deemed "unmarketable" by German producer and Milli Vanilli creator Frank Farian, who recruited the dancer-models to be the band's faces.
As a well-respected writer-reporter for The New York Times, Blair was discovered to have plagiarized and fabricated major news stories during his stint at the newspaper, and ultimately resigned from his position in 2003. "I thought 'Oh my God, maybe I can go to the copy desk and get this fixed,' " Blair recalled of the first time he failed to properly attribute a quote, in a 2012 interview. "And then I thought about – wait, you know, what are they gonna think. And a couple days go by. And the thought that goes through my head was, 'I can't believe no one caught that.' But the seed was planted in my head."
SENATOR RAND PAUL
The Texas senator is no stranger to plagiarism scandals. Not only has Paul been accused of plagiarizing speeches – with the help of the Wikipedia pages of films Gattaca and Stand and Deliver – but he was also accused of taking the same action for his book, Government Bullies, according to BuzzFeed, which found Paul "borrowed" (without attributing) a few passages from Forbes, the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation.
THE BEACH BOYS
Securing their first Top 10 hit for the now-iconic song "Surfin' USA" was a celebratory moment for The Beach Boys that eventually turned sour after the group was accused of stealing the melody off Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen." Their story ends on a good note, however: Berry was eventually given a co-writing credit on the song – as well as much-deserved royalties – after his publisher litigated.