Monday, December 24, 2012

What Content Can Be Plagiarized?

The word plagiarism exists since 1620s. It was always considered bad to claim someone else’s work as your own, no matter the form it’s in, whether it is written, visual, or conceptual. But these days, it seems harder for people to understand what plagiarism is and how it happens, just because large part of the creative work is now being published on the Internet. If it is a different medium it doesn’t mean the rules are changed. Those who plagiarize try to explain how they just ‘borrowed’ or ‘copied’ a small part of the text or an image, but in most cases they won’t admit they’ve done wrong. In order to prevent plagiarism on the Web, it is important to clarify what is plagiarism and how to avoid plagiarizing other people’s work.

How does Plagiarism Happen?

You are plagiarizing every time you are closely imitating other people’s ideas or words, using them as your own without having their permission; or when you present an idea or work as a new one, but it is actually taken from another source; or when you don’t credit the original source. If you copy content from other website, and publish it on your own as your work, without crediting the source or providing information about it, and even if you change the words a bit, you are not only causing damage to the quality of the content on the Internet, but you are also doing actions that are considered plagiarism. There are websites that would have so many words or ideas from other sources that they make up the majority of their content, and it doesn’t even matter if they credit those sources or not. That’s plagiarism also.
Almost everything on the Internet can be plagiarized, intentionally or not, and most people aren’t completely sure whether their actions are considered plagiarism, particularly when sharing content on the popular social networks, or downloading music, movies or games from the torrent type websites. It’s getting confusing for the young generations too, who are having difficulties to differentiate what is sharing and what is plagiarizing.

How to Avoid Plagiarism?

You can avoid plagiarizing other’s people work if you familiarize yourself with the terms of fair dealing/fair use and copyrights, and if you always assume the copyright is in place, if not noted otherwise by the author. To make sure you are always on the safe side of copyrights, limit your longer quotes to maximum 250 words and get permission from the author if you want to republish a larger portion. It is also very important to always properly cite the sources to accredit their offline or online works, linking directly to the sources. In addition, you can ensure that the content you use on your website is completely unique and original by scanning it with different plagiarism checking tools, like PlagTracker, PlagSpotter or CopyScape.