While writing the literature review chapter of my doctoral dissertation I picked up a few recent dissertations on similar topics from the library to get some pointers on references and style. As I was reading some articles cited in one of these theses, I discovered that this person had lifted large blocks of text from the cited works verbatim. Though the quotes were cited, they were presented as paraphrases, not quotes. I checked a few more, just out of curiosity, and realized that basically the whole literature review by this author (who graduated with a PhD two years ago) was cut-and-paste verbatim quotes strung together. (And who knows how much more of the thesis is unoriginal - I only checked this one chapter) This really ticks me off, as I (and many with me) spend what feels like eons of time reworking cited information into proper paraphrases. I happen to know the offending author's adviser pretty well, as we currently work together outside of my graduate program. Should I say something, or should I just let this person get away with copying and pasting large parts of their dissertation?
Edit: I still don't know what I will do about this - no-one wants to be a tattle-tale, and it really isn't any of my business how other people go about getting their doctorates. However, as I myself is currently writing my dissertation, it really irks me when I see someone else getting away with this, as I know from experience how much hard work goes into writing a PhD thesis. I just have one more comment - I ran the chapter in question through the turnitin software I have access to as an instructor at my institution, and it came back as 52% unoriginal. Turnitin only counts exact matches, so the 52% doesn't even cover some of the paragraphs I myself caught, where the author has changed one or two words but kept the sentence structure. I don't think there would be any legal consequences for this, even if I report it - it is more a question of academic dishonesty and what steps the institution that awarded the degree would take. I will show it to my adviser and see what he says before I do anything at all. Thanks everyone for the input!