This guest blog is written by Alon Yamin, Co-Founder of Copyleaks. Copyleaks fights plagiarism and copyright infringement online with advanced technology that works in any language and scans the web to detect if other sites are using your content. You can follow Copyleaks on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.
We've all been taught that plagiarism is wrong but if you ask different people, “What is plagiarism?” you will probably get a variety of answers, ranging from “It is a legal offense” to “It is research.” The law, on the other hand, is very specific; plagiarism is a violation of copyright laws, which is why it is important to really understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. A good start is to shatter the three biggest plagiarism misconceptions.
Misconception 1. Plagiarizing means duplicating someone else’s textual work
Well technically, this one is half right—copying someone’s entire work and using it as your own is considered plagiarism but this is just one form of it. First, you don’t have to copy a full work for it to be considered plagiarism. One paragraph is enough, even a few sentences (and yes, even paraphrasing part of it). Second, textual content is just one form of intellectual property (IP) you can plagiarize. Others include pictures, songs, videos and even ideas.
Misconception 2. Plagiarism has no consequences
You may find yourself in a situation where you use someone else’s work, and the content creator is probably not even aware of it, which appears to be a perfect win-win situation. This is not always the case and many times there are consequences to plagiarism. As its name conveys, intellectual property is a form of property. This means that taking it without permission is like stealing, and therefore you are legally liable when committing plagiarism. It is becoming easier to detect plagiarism and to catch you red-handed, especially online using plagiarism detection services such as Copyleaks. Recently, this UNLV professor was fired after being caught conducting serial plagiarism.
Misconception 3. Plagiarism is planned
In many cases people plagiarize without being aware of it. They may not understand what plagiarism is and think paraphrasing some content is enough, or even forget to change some of the content they used. However, ignorance of the law is not a valid defense and you will still be legally liable. This is why it’s important to run a plagiarism detection scan on your own content to make sure it is plagiarism free.
To sum it up, it is crucial to understand what is considered plagiarism, and the risks involved. It is best to avoid it at all costs so you can be sure you or your business are not in danger. Using online plagiarism detection tools is recommended to know that no one is using your own content, and that you didn’t use someone else’s intellectual property, even unintentionally, without the right approval.