Plagiarism from a teacher’s standpoint

There is currently a lot of information in existence on the Web and in handouts from schools/colleges/universities, even on this site, regarding plagiarism. You know what it is: duplicating someone else’s work to benefit your own success without paraphrasing (re-writing in your own words so you can display your comprehension of the material). Also, you have been told about self-plagiarism: acquiring a previous piece of work and re-submitting it to your respective teacher/lecturer, where you don’t learn anything, period!

Yes, you have been delivered into a world of advanced Information Technology and impressive consoles from some big-named manufacturers/companies, but do keep in mind that the Internet has only really been publicly available for the past 15 years or so. What this means is that a lot of men and women who are older than you are in fact well-versed in the ways the Internet and indeed IT work.

Naturally, not all people know how to use IT or the Internet successfully, but a large number of people do. This is because we as educationalists have to make sure we’re up to date with the current technology, otherwise we would be overlooking an important part of the understanding and development via a very useful resource.
This subsequently means that plagiarism is something you are not able to get away with when it comes to the vast majority of IT-literate tutors/lecturers. I’ve had so many students, this year alone, submit work that clearly is partly and in some cases entirely, plagiarised.

Here’s why: your writing is individual to you. You write in a particular way and yes, you sometimes word paragraphs using incorrect grammar. So when the next paragraph is read and it’s grammatically sound, reads like an excerpt from a 21-year-olds college or university essay and in small cases, has a different font, it’s not difficult to spot the difference.
When this happens it is easy to initially pop that sentence into Google and let it do all the hard work. If it comes back with positive hits on the exact phraseology which leads to a webpage, which in turn leads to a section sneakily alike to yours, then you’ve been sussed.

Taking it a step further, your essay or dissertation can then be put through and checked for any more inconsistencies.

In today’s IT-orientated world you are not the only (young) people that know how to search the Web to discover something that will fit in your essay, us tutors/lecturers here are just as well equipped. So be mindful the next time you’re browsing through the Internet.

Copyright - and how you can you define copyright

When people create poems, stories, reviews, novels, biographies or other written material seen as intellectual property, it belongs to them and them alone. The issue is how to defend such intellectual activities from those who might exploit such imaginative ventures for their own use without compensation to the original author. That’s exactly where copyright laws come in.
This collection of laws protects the authors from plagiarism and so from those who would appropriate some or all of the original work of an author as if it were their own. Copyright laws give the creator the right to use his/her works as they want to and this is applicable to movies, applications and architecture as well as written material. This means the writer can throw out, sell the content or approve certain publishing rights to others. Copyright laws give the writer unique rights to profit from his creative works. This protection allows authors to have the independence to continue to create, knowing that their projects are secured under national and international copyright laws.

Not all issues come under copyright protection. You cannot copyright a fact. Concepts, methods and systems also cannot be copyright protected. While facts and ideas can not, in and of themselves, be copyright, how they are displayed can be copyrighted, if the presentation is authentic to the author.

As soon as an author creates a story or article or anything else, that piece of writing is automatically under copyright. No one has any legal right to use it without the approval of the author. However, without registering the copyright, the writer will have a more difficult time verifying ownership should plagiarism occur. Not registering a copyright also has an effect on any monetary payment, which will be less with an unregistered copyright.

While a registered copyright does not endure forever, it does protect the author’s interests. If the work was written after the laws altered in February 1, 1978, the protection lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. This provides his children or heirs a chance to also profit from the copyrighted work. This copyright may not be renewed. Copyrights for works prior to 1978 varied depending on several factors. These copyrights can be renewed for 25 years with protections and are managed under the 1909 copyright laws.

Once a copyright runs out, there is no more recourse for the writer or heirs. At that point, the work comes into public domain. As a result the work can be printed, published or alternatively used for derivative works.

(​This section is based on US law.​​)

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