Probing Plagiarism Deeper – Part 1

When talking about plagiarism, there are still plenty of questions that are left unsettled.

This is a matter where there is great dispute among other countries and conflicting opinions. It is good to get to know the term, plagiarism and copyright laws to better understand them and how these may affect you. Just what is plagiarism all about? USA have copyright laws. Every time you make use of someone else’s idea, not properly acknowledging the source, and much worse, claiming it as your own, you are committing plagiarism. Plagiarism is considered a very serious crime that cannot be tolerated. Copying someone else’s ideas and works is unlawful as stipulated on the copyright laws. Intellectual property may be in the form of music, write-ups, videos and many more. These laws prevents an intellectual property from being mass-produced or copied without consent from parties. Before, you are able to determine copyrighted materials by the © symbol placed on these products. But with the amendment of the laws in 1989, copyrighted materials do not necessarily carry the © symbol. You should be careful with the copyrighted materials that have no symbol.

Even if you make a slight or a huge change on the original material, as long as there is resemblance on the content, you are still infringing laws regarding copyright. There are some information that you are able to borrow ideas from freely, and you will not be held liable when you use them. These are when you use works considered as public property as long as you write down the source; number works issued by the government of USA; information that is collected and compiled; and ideas that are not derived for research. A good example of an idea that is not a result of research is the fact that there are a total of seven continents in the whole world. This is because not all works that are published are copyrighted, only those that are original. Any facts that came from a research are considered to be the property of the person/s who conducted the research. There is a confusion regarding the intellectual property and “common knowledge.” When you use intellectual property, you are obliged to acknowledge the source.

But, when you are using the internet, some of the information is free for public usage. So, you need not cite sources every time. If in any case you are in doubt whether it is a “common knowledge” or an intellectual property, better write down your source just to be on the safe side. There is a saying that goes, “Ignorance of the law excuses no one.” Checking if you have plagiarism in your work or not is a must. Although you do not intend to copy someone else’s work, but still have written the same idea, you can be greatly punished by the law. Punishment ranges from mild to severe depending on the gravity. Citing sources and authors is somehow the best way to refrain from violating copyright laws.