4 Popular Misconceptions about Plagiarism

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Alexx121, Jan 22, 2015.

By Alexx121 on Jan 22, 2015 at 12:43 PM
  1. Alexx121

    Alexx121 New Member

    Jan 22, 2015
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    4 Popular Misconceptions about Plagiarism

    Discussion in 'Articles' started by Alexx121, Jan 22, 2015.

    4 popular misconceptions about plagiarism

    For most of you, the idea of plagiarism is shrouded in secrecy. Not everyone knows what is plagiarism, what it is not, who usually commits plagiarism or what does copyright law include. That is why I've decided to disprove 4 popular misconceptions about plagiarism.

    1. Plagiarism is not a serious problem
    In the days of the Internet, when there is unlimited access to the online data, many people believe that the content they're using is shared and plagiarism doesn't concern them. Nothing could be further from the truth! Everything, from printed and electronic text through graphic and movies to pictures, is the subject to the copyright law. According to the data on Plagiarism Level on Internet, each day there are 2 million new posts, users spent 4.7 million minutes on Facebook, they update 532 million statuses and spent 864 000 hours on watching and sharing YouTube videos. No wonder that plagiarism online is getting more and more common. In 2005 only 25% of the content published online was plagiarised, 5 years later the percentage raised to 39, in 2011 more than 44% of the online content originated from already existing sources, while it is estimated that in 2014 the percentage of plagiatized content will reach 63. These figures speak for themselves, online plagiarism happens commonly, thus it is worth paying attention to the scale of the problem as well as its consequences. According to the international Berne Convention, copyrights are protected by default, they don't require registration or any copyright notes. Penalties for copyright infringement vary from state to state and are controlled by different rules of law.

    2. Only students commit plagiarism

    Even though it's usually inexperienced and unaware of breaking the law students who commit plagiarism, the problem of copyright infringement concerns every level of education, including experienced researchers. There are cases of people all over the world holding high offices, who also commit plagiarism. Well-known cases of politicians, who plagiarised their doctoral theses prove that stealing someone else's intellectual property is not only the specialty of students, who are said to copy-paste all of their school homeworks. These incidents only sustain the view that plagiarism is a far-flung problem.

    3. Plagiarism is always intentional

    Stealing someone else's idea is not always intentional, as there are different types of plagiarism, direct and accidental being just the two of them. And even though both of them are considered as copyright infringement from the legal point of view, there are significant differences between direct and accidental plagiarism. The main difference between these two types is that direct plagiarism consists in copying of the whole work or its fragment while accidental plagiarism may happen to anybody and is not intentional. One reason for an accidental plagiarism is that we are not able to control every idea of each person in the world. Another reason for an accidental plagiarism is ignorance about the precise definition of plagiarism. Of course plagiarism, whether accidental or not, can not be justified, which is why a plagiarism checkers like copyact.com were designed. Due to the functions provided by copyact.com, you can check if your idea has not yet been published by someone else and thus avoid being accused of committing plagiarism.

    4. Copyright protects everything

    According to the US law, there are certain categories of works that are not eligible for copyright protection. These are:

    • Facts

    • Works created by the United States Government

    • Works not fixed in a tangible form of expression

    • Ideas, concepts, principles, or discoveries

    • Words, phrases, or familiar symbols


Discussion in 'Articles' started by Alexx121, Jan 22, 2015.

    1. daemon
      Even though you say at the beginning that not everyone knows what plagiarism is, this article somehow manages to make it less clear what exactly plagiarism is. You raise more questions than you provide answers.

      That is because this article makes several equivocation fallacies. It equivocates plagiarism, copyright infringement, and duplicate content. Ironically, I think those fallacies are actually the most common misconceptions about plagiarism.

      The source for your first point self-admittedly counts reposts (e.g. retweets) as "plagiarism". (The purpose of the infographic is to advertise a plagiarism detection service, and the purpose of a plagiarism detection service is to flag duplicate content so the user can decide if it is a problem, so of course the infographic shows off how well the service can detect duplicate content. Duplicate content ≠ plagiarism.) Unless you think retweets are the same kind of societal ill as ripped off doctoral theses, you have no basis for saying plagiarism is as big of a problem as you think it is. If you do think they are the same, then you are effectively arguing that ripped off doctoral theses are no big deal, because I am much likelier to believe that than to believe that retweets are a big moral problem that must be dealt with.

      Your second point opens with the implication that plagiarism is illegal (the meaning of "unaware of breaking the law"), which is flat-out wrong. Copyright infringement is illegal. Copyright infringement ≠ plagiarism. You make the same equivocation fallacy in the sentence "... politicians, who plagiarised their doctoral theses prove that stealing someone else's intellectual property ...". Intellectual property theft = copyright infringement. Copyright infringement ≠ plagiarism. But I guess your main point here is that several people in positions of influence have plagiarized significant intellectual content. The thing is, if you promise to clear up misconceptions about plagiarism, then I am more interested in understanding what exactly plagiarism is than in being reminded of the obvious fact that anyone can plagiarize.

      It is hard to tell what exactly you mean in point 3, but you seem to equivocate between unintentional plagiarism and coincidental similarity. If I take your advice seriously and if I agree with you about what a problem plagiarism is, then I will be afraid to write anything because one of the billions of people in history has probably already said something similar.

      I cannot even tell where you are going with point 4. But I will note that unless you equivocate between plagiarism and copyright infringement, point 4 is irrelevant.
    2. HelloImRex
      I don't know what it means to say 63% of the content on the internet is plagiarized. If someone uploads a 10 gig Game of Thrones episode and someone else writes a million pages of text that isn't plagiarized but is only 1 gig, is 88.88% of the internet plagiarized because the video is a bigger file? Those percentages given seem to suspiciously match with how much more video was added to the internet over time. I'm too lazy to get those numbers for comparison though.

      You only say plagiarism is a problem because a lot of people do it and it is against the law- or is that copyright infringement? Either way, how do either of those make it a problem? You could say the same thing about marijuana or being gay and having a drivers license in Russia. A lot of people do it and its against the law. I'm not saying plagiarism isn't a problem, I'm just saying the reasoning here is kind of silly. Honestly, if 63% of the internet is plagiarized and that isn't due to counting large video files as most of the internet, then there's probably something wrong with what is copyrighted/ considered plagiarism (You use the two words interchangeably so I will too.).

      Also, on a different note didn't copyright laws used to have some time limit that was changed in the last century to accommodate ownership of art by large corporations? I'm vague on that one, maybe someone who knows more than me can tell me.

      You didn't mention what proper citation includes which allows for even more ambiguity in the interpretation of this article. Is it just saying where you got something from? Is it claiming fair use? Is it citing it in mla/apa format? As far as giving credit to something, the work cited system just frankly seems outdated. Maybe I'm young and stupid and don't like traditional rules, but if I have the name to something and a link at worst it will take me two minutes to find it on Google. I don't care what date the person who quoted the source accessed it, what publisher made the source possible, what the catering service the author likes, etc (I do recognize scientific papers are exceptions, everything has to be recorded with precision as it helps determine the validity of scientific data. Other types of things I just don't get. Saying where you got it from should be enough without adding why, how, and when.). In an academic setting if you link to a website and give credit to the author that is not enough and you get in trouble for plagiarism. On the internet, no one is going to mess with MLA or APA because the majority of the population doesn't care about that stuff. If credit is attributed without "citation" is that plagiarism? I've written forum posts on here where I paraphrase information I read and give a link to a website. I could be plagiarizing because I just posted a link and none of the other crap. If 63% of the internet being plagiarism is due to people like me posting links to website without using formal notation then plagiarism is not a problem. I'm not convinced its a problem because its not defined.

      Overall, this article is too vague to really be informative or helpful.
      Last edited: Jan 23, 2015

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