Just Say “Arrgh!”

Even in my mother’s womb, I knew I wanted to be a pirate. I’d say my “arghs,” drink through my barrels of rum, and have a jolly time sitting around with my fellow shipmates. If only, if only. Well, twenty years later, I’ve accepted the role as an English major, secretly watching for the next ship out to sea, whether in my mind, my scribbled notebook, or Treasure Island. Close enough, right?  
Little did I know that almost everyone was a pirate, basking in the rays of their computer, sailing through the internet, and taking what they could. Ever burn CDs and give them to a friend? Ever sing your favorite song so wildly that a “friend” posted it on the internet? Oops, then it goes viral (at least locally). Guess who’s a pirate now?

But what about literature? That quote from Stein, Woolf, Lawrence on your class website, on your blog, or in your mind…is this a bad thing? Not plagiarism, of course. But fully cited, fully borrowed, fully enriching to the minds that know naught about literature. What if these were blocked, censored, ignored for centuries because we’d have to go to the original source? The original mind? Is it bad to have other people enjoy your work? Copy and paste that work? Increase the chances of spreading those thoughts raging in your head? Books are my favorite medium, not going to lie. But the internet is here to stay, and I’m cool with sharing the art, brother. Are you?

Disclaimer: Give credit where it’s due, and share the love. Also, Jim Hawkins helped me write this. Also, again, this has nothing to do with SOPA. Argh, matey.


Mary Span is a student at Virginia Tech who also lives by the name MD. She is not a qualified doctor.


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