Plagiarism is a form of academic malpractice specifically referring to the use of another's information, language, or writing, when done without proper acknowledgment of the original source. Plagiarism is not necessarily the same as copyright infringement, which occurs when one violates copyright law.
Plagiarism is the use of another person’s work (this could be his or her words, products or ideas) for personal advantage, without proper acknowledgement of the original work. Most often the phrase is used to denote deliberate intent of passing it off as one's own work. Plagiarism may occur deliberately (with the intention to deceive) or accidentally (due to poor referencing). It encompasses copying material from a book, copying and pasting information from the World Wide Web, receiving help from unauthorized sources on coursework, and copying answers from a fellow student during an examination (presuming the copied work isn’t attributed). Plagiarism and cheating are not the same; cheating takes many forms, including but not limited to deliberate plagiarism.
Plagiarism is neither a criminal nor civil offense. In fact, plagiarism is not a legal term and is not legally recognised. However, breach of copyright or intellectual property rights (IPR) is illegal; acts of plagiarism that breach either of the former are illegal acts.
Plagiarising work that has no copyright (such as material that is out of copyright) constitute a breach of moral rights in jurisdictions where such rights are perpetual. In other jurisdictions, plagiarism becomes legal as soon as moral rights expire.
Pagiarism & Internet
The widespread use of the Internet has increased the incidence of plagiarism. Students are able to use search engines to locate information on a wide range of topics. Once located, this information can be copied and pasted into students’ documents with minimal effort.
The Internet can also be used to combat plagiarism. Teachers can also use search engines to search for parts of suspicious essays. Using search engines to check papers for plagiarism, however, is neither practical nor effective since teachers lack the time necessary to check each paper by hand using an online search engine.
Students cite many reasons for plagiarising, including:
- being unaware that they're plagiarising
- lacking knowledge and understanding of the subject
- poor time management skills
- feeling that the subject is unimportant
- believing that plagiarism isn't serious
- feeling pressured due to over-assessment
- poor teaching
- they've done it before and not been caught
The most common reason given by students is ignorance about plagiarism - that they were unclear about the plagiarism policy and, therefore, unaware that they were doing anything wrong. Many school districts have a plagarism policy, which punishes students in increasing severity the more times that they're caught. A common misunderstanding among students relates to paraphrased material. Many students do not realise that paraphrased material should be attributed to the original author in the same manner as a direct quotation.
HOW to AVOID PLAGIARISM
To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you use
- another person's idea, opinion, or theory;
- any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings-any pieces of information-that are not common knowledge;
- quotations of another person's actual spoken or written words; or
- paraphrase of another person's spoken or written words.