By the time we are grown and well-adjusted members of society, the concept of right and wrong, and the difference between them are ingrained in us. Thus, we know that it is wrong to steal from others– whether it be a loaf of bread, a spot in line, or credit for another person’s work. The last example, known as plagiarism, is something many strive to avoid committing.
In the long-established practice of ghostwriting, from the outside, it can appear plagiarism is rampant and that credit is not being given where it is due. However, when reputable ghostwriters are employed, there is minimal opportunity for plagiarism, since the recipient of credit is agreed upon before any work is done.
Customarily, the client or “author” receives the credit because the content for the written work is provided by the client. The ghostwriter is simply providing a service to the author by putting that content into a written form in exchange for a fee. Unless specified in the client/ghostwriter contract, the ghostwriter does not receive credit because the idea for the content is not his or her own.
Take Stephen Hawking’s work for example. Do you think Hawking writes his own books? No. Hawking is in no physical condition to literally write his own books, yet the information contained within them is his. The service of an able-bodied ghostwriter was employed to write down Hawking’s thoughts and ideas.
Hawking is credited for his books because he is the originator of their content. The ghostwriter is paid for his or her services and remains in anonymity, as was agreed upon. There was no theft or deceit involved in their transaction, and credit is given where it is due. When both parties understand and follow their agreement, the possibility for treading on immoral ground is eliminated.