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Literary Forgery Explained

Literary Forgery Explained

Literary forgeries and hoaxes are as old as the written word. They have been done throughout the ages for various reasons. Some of the most amusing literary forgeries throughout history were done for the sake of mischief in the academic community. The act of forgery of a literary piece of work is criminally punished when the false representation involves the gain of large sums of money. Generally, this form of academic dishonesty does not financially harm anyone but may ruin one’s intellectual and academic merits.
The world of academia is an incredibly competitive field in which ambitious scholars and professors compete against each other to be published. Many scholars wish to gain the upper hand by discovering a rare piece of a famous writer’s work.
Literary forgeries involve some of the most skilled forgers because language is one of the most difficult things to imitate. Linguistic expression is incredibly intricate. Copying the linguistic expressions of the literary masters is one of the most egregious uses of someone’s literary talents.
Some of the most infamous examples of literary forgeries were done not for academic advancement, but for political ambition. An example of a literary forgery that was done for political ambition was the forged document the Donation of Constantine. The Donation of Constantine was a forged Roman imperial decree the papacy used in the Middle Ages to legitimize the political authority of the church over the kings of Europe. Pope Sylvester I had the Donation of Constantine forged to ensure that the papacy would have power over the kings of Western Europe.
In the 8th Century, the time the document was forged, Charlemagne had conquered most of Western Europe and the Papacy needed his protection because Rome had been invaded by the Lombards. The document discussed the Roman emperor Constantine’s historical decision to move the capital to the City of Constantinople in modern Turkey. 
The forged document stated that Constantine delegated imperial authority over the Western Roman Empire to the bishop of Rome, later known as Pope. The document was written as a means of checking the growing power of Western European kings who were not familiar with the history of the Roman Empire.
The kings of Western Europe accepted and respected the Pope’s political role in Western Europe. The forged document had been used by generations of Popes who function as the “conscience” of Europe’s kings. Centuries later, scholars discovered that the document was written in 8th Century Latin and not the type of Latin that Constantine would have used himself. Thus, this fact proved that the document was a literary forgery.
Some literary forgeries are not so duplicitous in their aims. Sometimes, literary forgery is a product of literary fads and trends. In the 18th Century, as the literacy rates in England had risen, the English public became increasingly enamored with the literary works of William Shakespeare. 
Samuel Ireland was a London bookseller that devoted his life to the study of Shakespeare. His son worked at a law office part time and they subsequently claimed to have discovered old documents of the famous 16th Century playwright. Among the documents was a play that had never been staged.
The forged play was allegedly one of his history plays, Vortigern. His son told everyone that he found the documents in the estate papers of a client. The public’s excitement for the new play was strong enough for a theatre owner to stage the hoax. The actors were very suspicious of the play being a literary forgery because any self-respecting actor at the time would know the Shakespearean style very well.
By the time the play had finished, the entire crowd had known that the play was a hoax and had a good laugh. The play was never staged again. Apparently, Samuel Ireland’s son was not skilled enough to properly imitate the bard. This is an example of a literary forgery whose surrounding lies got out of hand.
Plagiarism is the most serious form of literary forgery. It is considered a crime when a person has the intention of representing somebody’s work for oneself and makes money off the fraud. Plagiarism is a widespread problem among academic circles, schools, journalists, editors, and publishers. 
It is punishable by law when it could be proven that a person intentionally deprived the victim (the person from whom the written information was illegally extracted) of money that was rightfully theirs. 
This is highly subjective as a criminal matter and is more often a civil matter. It is an extremely dishonest thing to do and does not give the proper credit to the researchers who contributed to writing of a paper. Giving the proper citations is the proper means of avoiding criminal or civil liability.  

The Facts About Music Forgery

The Facts About Music Forgery

Forgery is not limited to the unlawful fabrication of documents, money, literary pieces, and works of art. Music is another form of media that can be forged. Forgery in music has a long history of music scores that are said to be authored completely by one composer, but in reality written by a forger.
 
 
The mystery of who finished Mozart's Requiem is still a topic of heated debate among musicologists. The great composer had died before he was able to finish his final masterpiece. No composer wished to reveal himself to the public although it is clear that Constanze, Mozart's widow, needed to have the final score completed to pay off the debts of her late husband. Therefore, there was clearly a need to have the score finished.  The composer or composers who finished Mozart's Requiem Mass would have never been liable of breaking music copyright law during the 18th Century as such laws did not exist.
 
 
The truth of the finishing of Mozart's Requiem Mass cannot be determined because the composer who had finished the masterpiece was very skilled in mimicking Mozart's handwriting and signature. If modern music copyright laws existed at the time, this question of music history would no longer be a topic of dispute between music historians. Regardless, the Requiem Mass is one of Mozart's greatest contributions to the art of music.
 
 
Centuries have passed since Mozart lived and died, and in modern times, music scores and recorded music are protected by music copyright laws. Copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of a piece of copyrighted material. Copyrighted material is the intellectual property of the composer, artist, publishing company, and record company who helped to create a song.
 
 
The modern music industry is a large industry in which large sums of money are invested in the production of music for public consumption. The rights to property and money gained as a result of music production are the essence of copyright infringement laws. The music industry is quite aggressive in its persecution of persons who commit copyright infringement against the industry. Historically, the record industry has had a monopoly on the way people listen to music.
 
 
In the 1980s, there was much controversy in the music industry over the use of recordable audio cassettes to record music from the radio or compact disk. Congress finally legalized the use of blank audio cassettes for the recording and duplication of music and other copyrighted materials for personal, non-commercial use in 1992. Consumers were free to transfer their music and record their recorded music without being criminally or civilly liable of copyright infringement. The Federal law was known as the Audio Home Recording Act. The law also gave consumers the liberty of recording television shows or movies with their VCRs provided that they do not sell it or distribute it.
 
 
As the 1990s progressed into the 2000s, the types of media became more sophisticated with the growing popularity of digital media. Hip-hop grew from an urban underground phenomenon to an international American pop cultural export. Many hip-hop artists use short sequences of existing music as a means of making a hip-hop beat. This practice is known as sampling. Sampling is a creative innovation of music previously unavailable because previous technology was not advanced enough.
 
 
Sampling in hip-hop challenged existing music copyright law because it takes other pieces of copyrighted work for the purpose of creating an original piece of music. The legality of sampling is a topic of debate. However, most proponents point to the "fair use doctrine" as an argument for sampling's legality. The "fair use doctrine" considers the amount of the copyrighted work used in relation to the new publication as a whole. The music copyright violation must be significant before there are grounds for civil litigation. Therefore, most hip-hop beat producers may sample copyrighted material as long as it is no longer than 10 seconds in duration. 
 
 
Street vendors selling illegally duplicated music became a common presence on streets of the world's cities. This activity is obviously in violation of music copyright law because it specifically involves the duplication of copyrighted material for the purpose of selling it.  Person to Person (P2P) file "sharing" applications like Napster became popular among Internet users at the beginning of the 21st century. The laws challenged existing copyright infringement laws because it technically was not selling the music, it was sharing the music.
 
 
Music copyright law stipulates that a person not distribute copyrighted music for commercial purposes. The central legal argument Napster's lawyers used was that Person-to-Person applications were sharing and not distributing. The first complainants in civil disputes against Napster were the heavy metal band, Metallica. Metallica's lawyers argued that Napster, by virtue of it being a commercial corporation, was distributing digital music for the sake of profit. The complainants won the trial and it set the precedent that digital file sharing is a mild form of copyright infringement punishable by law.
 
 
Federal law prohibits file sharing. It is a crime punishable up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. Civil penalties depend on how much a record company or music artist wants from the the copyright violator.
 
 
Modern file sharing applications like Bit Torrent make file sharing much faster with their partial file sharing systems that constitute indirect file transfers. A piece of all the members’ files are shared simultaneously and sent to the person downloading the torrent file. In the age of broadband internet connections, this is the fastest method of illegal downloading.
 
 
The Sweden-based website, The Pirate Bay, had charges brought against them by the intellectual property defenders. It is established that there is not any type of file sharing application that is void of criminal liability. However, the public popularity of such sites spawned a new political party in Swedish politics whose platform is based on the free flow of information sharing regardless of copyright. These anti-intellectual property activists are a clear indication that the controversy surrounding music copyright law is here to stay.
 
 
File sharing is a global phenomenon and there are few people who do not have a strong opinion either for or against the enforcement of copyright infringement. The debate over music copyright law is not going to conclude in the near future.
 
 
Many music artists have adapted to historically low music sales by focusing more on their live shows. Some artists even encourage the rapid spread of their recorded material. The band Pearl Jam is well-known for allowing their fans to video record their live performances. 

Political Forgery Overview

Political Forgery Overview

Many say that the game of politics is based on the stretching of the truth for the public’s approval. Essentially, many political campaigns are based on political propaganda tactics that purport that their perspective on the truth is superior to that of their opponents. There are very few laws that cover the content political speech.
Political speech is among the most heavily protected rights as far as the First Amendment goes. Political propaganda that is not true is considered political forgery because the information their advertisements claim are unfairly damaging to the opponent’s chances of winning a political contest. 
The legality of untrue political propaganda usually goes unchallenged. It is up to the public to punish a candidate for their unethical behavior. This is essentially why American political campaigns are notorious for their mudslinging propaganda tactics.
Distortion of the truth is perfectly legal yet its efficacy depends on the threshold at which the public catches on to the true nature of the distorted claim. Persons who are running for public office do not have the same protections against slander and libel that regular citizens do. This is because the American Government holds solemn a person’s right to free political speech.
It is the duty of the media to inform the public as to the truth of the claims politicians make about themselves and of their opponents. The media is the only industry whose mere existence is Constitutionally protected under the First Amendment. The media must be free and independent of the Government to ensure its validity.
Nevertheless, politicians are shrewd enough to understand that the media is, after all, a business interested in generating revenue from the selling of advertisements. Politicians spend millions of dollars from corporate and individual donors on political propaganda ads to glorify or defend their own reputations. 
There are campaign finance regulations that prevent conflict of interest but there are almost no laws that regulate the content of a politician’s advertisements. 
However, not all forms of political propaganda take shots at political opponents. Some pieces of political propaganda glorify the candidate in an untruthful manner. A politician may create an association between a popular politician or public figure and their name to express that a candidate has similar beliefs and values with the politician. 
This is technically political forgery but it is a viable political propaganda tactic as long as the public figure does not speak out against the fake endorsement.
Famously, Ronald Reagan briefly used the Bruce Springsteen song “Born in the USA” as the official song of his 1984 re-election campaign, but Springsteen denied Reagan the use of the song. Springsteen believed that Reagan’s use of the song would misrepresent the meaning of his song. 
Reagan thought the song was a song that glorified the traditional virtues of the American heartland. Springsteen wrote the song for homeless Vietnam War veterans who were forgotten by the Government upon repatriation.  Subsequently, Reagan chose another song, Walter Mondale’s “Gonna Fly Now.”  The song was less popular than Springsteen’s but it was more characteristic of Ronald Reagan.
The Cold War is well-known for its Black Propaganda campaigns. Black Propaganda is a very deceptive propaganda tactic because it is almost always contains false information. It leaves the audience with the impression that it came from one side of the political faction when, in fact, it came from the opposing side. 
It is a clandestine form of propaganda, known as a psychological operation, or psy-op. It is extremely clever and sophisticated. Famously, the KGB used covert media placements in American media to downplay the atrocities of Soviet Rule like the 1932 Ukrainian famine that could have been prevented had Stalin sent food to the Soviet Republic.
Black Propaganda is not limited to posters and media outlets. Black Propaganda-based psychological operations also come in the physical form. These are known as false-flag attacks. False-flag attacks are a very sophisticated form of Black Propaganda in which the political reasons for going to war with a nation are legitimized by a real state terrorist attack is initiated against a country’s own people to make it look like a political opponent did it.
The most famous example of a false-flag attack is the 1933 Reichstag fire in Germany. The ambitious National Socialist (Nazi) party wished to come to power but they knew that their beliefs were too radical for a Germany without an enemy that posed a threat to national security. 
The diametric political opponents of the Nazis were the Communists. The National Socialist Party covertly set fire to the German Parliament building and blamed it on the Communists. This piece of Black Propaganda was instrumental to the establishment of Nazi Germany and the invasion of Poland six years later to destroy the threat of Communism. False-flag attacks are the most evil form of political forgery because it deliberately kills innocent people for the public’s support of a party’s political agenda.  

The Sentencing and Punishment of Forgery

The Sentencing and Punishment of Forgery

All cases of forgery that result in the unlawful theft of a person's money are considered white collar crimes. Forgeries may also be considered a white collar crime if an employee forges documents to advance rank or steal money from a corporation. All persons convicted of forgery face possible jail time along with restitution, asset forfeiture, fining, and a criminal record.
 
 
The modern model of the criminal code that defines punishments and sentencing for thefts and white collar crimes involving forgery was first adopted in 1962. The U.S. Criminal Code has virtually remained unchanged since its adoption in 1962. Prior to 1962, an 1823 Supreme Court case defined forgery. The case's record is still on the books but the 1962 Federal Code clarifies the punishments for the act of both theft and white collar forgeries. 

What You Should Know About Forgery Charges

What You Should Know About Forgery Charges

A person with criminal forgery charges must be accused of falsifying any document to deprive a business or an individual of a significant amount of money or property to be criminally liable. Forgery charges involve the misrepresentation, adaptation, or fabrication of checks, money orders, securities, titles, deeds, corporate documents, currency, bonds, or court seals. The punishments that forgery charges entail are very similar to that of counterfeiting or other crimes of deception.
 
 
The gravity of a forgery charge depends primarily on the extent of the deprivation of money or property of the victim or victims. Forgery charges may be brought at the state or Federal level. Federal forgery charges involve cases in which currencies, securities, Federal bonds, military documents, or shipping documents are forged to deceptively gain employment or money. Federal forgery charges generally cover cases in which a very substantial amount of money or property had been fraudulently gained.
 
 
State forgery charges are similar to Federal ones but do not delve into the realm of interstate commerce, Federal bureaucracies, or counterfeiting of Federal bonds or currency. State forgery charges fall into either the felony or misdemeanor category depending on the amount of money or property that had been deceitfully gained as a result of a forged document.
 
 
Forgery charges may even constitute a violation of international law. The forging or falsification of a passport is an internationally recognized Federal crime. These cases are generally handled at a country's Federal level of jurisdiction. The forgery of a passport is a serious offense because it could constitute a threat to a nation's security.
 
 
Forgery charges cover cases in which a document had been forged either digitally or manually. Handwriting specialists are commonly used as a means of strengthening the State's case against a person facing serious forgery charges. Forgery charges, either State or Federal, almost always entail significant time in jail, prison and large fines.
 
 
Persons facing felony charges may also be civilly liable and must pay monetary damages and restitution to their victims. Restitution may also be imposed in criminal cases of forgery. Forgery charges, resulting in conviction, will always appear as a felony on the offender’s criminal record. Some states do not allow for the expungement of forgery charges.
 
 
Seeking a defense lawyer with ample experience in the criminal or civil defense of forgery is of the utmost importance for people who are facing forgery charges. Assets may be legally seized and sold in order to rectify the criminal act of forgery. An experienced lawyer can negotiate a fair deal in the sentencing of persons guilty of forgery. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged with forgery did, in fact, forge a document to gain money or property in a deceptive fashion.  

The Facts About Forged Checks

The Facts About Forged Checks

Sometimes purse snatchers and pick-pockets are not so interested in the cash money their victims may have but the identity or banking information that may be in a wallet or purse. When someone's wallet gets stolen or goes missing, it is very important to cancel all credit and/or debit cards and notify the bank of missing checks.
 
 
Usually, people are very quick to cancel their credit and debit cards but forget to notify the bank about the missing checks that could potentially be forged to make illegal withdrawals from a person's bank account. A stolen check may be used to create an unwarranted personal check written out to the perpetrator. This is the most basic form of check forgery. 
 
 
Most banks take extra time to allow a personal check to clear. During this time, banks search for any indication that a check may be a forgery. Personal checks take longer to clear than payroll checks for this reason. However, check forgery does not only happen as a result of people stealing a person's checkbook. Check forgery has strong connections to identity theft.
 
 
Many identity thieves form elaborate criminal networks with bank employees or use Internet-based personal information gathering tactics. The most valuable information an identity thief needs to make a fake check is someone's social security number. Most bank account databases are arranged according to social security numbers.
 
 
After someone's personal bank account information is displayed on a check forger's computer screen, they may use sophisticated computer programs and printers to print out replicas of checks with an account holder's name on it. The check may then be used to make unlawful withdrawals from a person's bank account. This form of check forgery targets both people with large bank holdings or people with small bank accounts. It does not matter what the size of someone's bank account may be. If personal information is put into the wrong hands, it may result in this form of check forgery.
 
 
Another check forgery tactic implemented by criminals is the false endorsement of a check. This is done by people who pose as the person written on the check. These persons usually carry a fake identification card and forge a person's signature to cash a check.
 
 
False endorsement check forgery also involves people who deposit checks for the person written on the check. They make no claims of being the person written on the check but claim that they were sent to the bank for the purpose of cashing or depositing a check. These criminals will take a payroll check, deposit it legitimately into the person's account, and later make a fake check in their name to transfer the funds to the criminal's account.
 
 
Person's who commit check forgery are extremely duplicitous people who often hold multiple accounts under different pseudonyms and identities. They use a multitude of different identities to conceal their identity from law enforcement. When they are eventually caught, they are brought to justice according to the severity of the crime.
 
 
Often check forgers get serious charges because it is seldom that a person is guilty of only one count of check forgery. Their criminally deceptive practices are multi-layered and could easily constitute multiple charges of forgery. 

Currency Forgery: Crime of Counterfeiting

Currency Forgery: Crime of Counterfeiting

The value of currency is an important concern of everyone, not only economists and central banks. Central banks, like the American Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, the Central Bank of London, along with their respective treasury departments are entrusted with the authority of producing currency. Whether it is the American dollar, the Euro, or the British pound, all currencies are subject to counterfeiting. 
Counterfeiting is the production of fake money. It is a considered a form of forgery because it involves the fabrication of one of the most important documents: money.
Counterfeiting 

Counterfeiting is a crime that effects everyone because if there is enough counterfeit money circulating undetected in an economy, it can easily cause an economy to collapse. Counterfeiters even delude themselves into believing that they are rich by printing out excess money. In reality, they are creating money that is not only worthless, but damaging the value of legitimate money. 
Counterfeiters make accurate replicas of money to misguide the trust of their victims. Essentially the value of all money is based on trust. People generally trust each other that the money they are giving them is legitimate. Counterfeiters forge sophisticated copies of money. They replicate the images, the texture, and the colors on money in a manner that is equally sophisticated than the money that a country’s treasury department prints. 
Treasury departments worldwide are constantly changing the look and feel of money to combat counterfeiting. Many central banks and treasuries have exclusive monopolies over certain types of ink or paper. They may add watermarks, multicolored confetti to a central bank note’s paper. The American dollar, for example, is known to have cotton as an additive to the paper of the money. 
Cotton contributes to the American dollars distinctive texture. During the 1990’s, the treasury department changed the look of money to a larger format than older money to combat counterfeiting in the digital age.>
Counterfeiting is a crime that affects everyone because if there is enough counterfeit money circulating undetected in an economy, it can easily cause an economy to collapse. Counterfeiters even delude themselves into believing that they are rich by printing out excess money. In reality, they are creating money that is not only worthless, but damaging the value of legitimate money.
Counterfeiters make accurate replicas of money to misguide the trust of their victims. Essentially the value of all money is based on trust. People generally trust each other that the money they are giving them is legitimate. Counterfeiters forge sophisticated copies of money. They replicate the images, the texture, and the colors on money in a manner that is equally sophisticated than the money that a country’s treasury department prints.
Treasury departments worldwide are constantly changing the look and feel of money to combat counterfeiting. Many central banks and treasuries have exclusive monopolies over certain types of ink or paper. They may add watermarks, multicolored confetti to a central bank note’s paper. The American dollar, for example, is known to have cotton as an additive to the paper of the money. 
Cotton contributes to the American dollar’s distinctive texture. During the 1990s, the Treasury Department changed the look of money to a larger format than older money to combat counterfeiting in the digital age.
Today currencies are globally traded, making counterfeiting harder to track. International law enforcement agencies like Interpol promote cooperation among the national governments of the world to protect currencies from counterfeiting. 
For example, if the Federal Bureau of Investigation discovers that an American citizen is involved in the counterfeiting of the Euro, the FBI must share intelligence with the law enforcement agencies of the Eurozone.
Counterfeiting is an international problem of the modern global economy and is showing no signs of depleting. The extent and scope of this form of forgery is unknown, but its effect on the value of world currencies is well-known.