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.
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.
- Plagiarism is not a serious problem
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:
- 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