Internet Plagiarism

Topics: Copyright, Intellectual property, Property Pages: 9 (2819 words) Published: August 20, 2011

Internet Plagiarism
Anna Pindell
Devry University

Plagiarism, copyright laws and social networking.
Social and professional networking sites have changed the way we connect and network to other people. It has become a necessity to utilize these sources as a way to communicate and express our thoughts, ideas and interests often by posting a written statement or image. Too often these expressions are stolen without the knowledge of the original source. Plagiarism is considered fraud and idea stealing is an act of plagiarism. Copyright law must be used in conjunction with the rules of plagiarism to protect the expressions made by people on social networking sites.

Plagiarism can take on many forms. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to “plagiarize” means:
• to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own.
• to use (another’s production) without crediting the source.
• to commit literary theft.
• to present as new and original an idea product derived from an existing source. Simply put, plagiarism is an act of copying and it has been around for centuries, even before the invention of the printing press by German inventor Johannes Gutenburg around 1450 A.D. Historians say that there was very little regard for authorship and that scholars and other authors liberally copied works from others using scissors and paste. In the 17th century during a sequence of internecine wars between England, Scotland, and Ireland, Monarch Charles I was tried and sentenced to death and Britain was ruled by


republican systems that often ignored patents and licensing and allowed the book trade to expand. Poor writers were paid to use the works of more successful writers in order to create journals and pamphlets that could be sold at a profit. Publishing pirates often reprinted original best selling books into smaller formats that could easily be disposed of and could charge a cheaper price in order for larger amounts of people to purchase not just royalty. These pirates would then mix and match content as they saw the need or opportunity (Johns, 2009).

The time between then and the late 20th century, plagiarism has been verily easy to detect. There were fewer sources then to copy and there wasn’t the dissemination of information that we have today. Today, publishers have to contend with several forms of plagiarism:

• self-plagiarism; which is when an author uses his own work over and over again without acknowledgement.
• literal, or word-for-word plagiarism; which is when an author uses another author’s text word for word without acknowledgement. Plagiarism of this nature is considered academic fraud.
• image plagiarism; can range from table and diagrams to artwork and photographs. Often it is easier to prove copyright infringement when it comes to imagery.
• Ideas plagiarism; when an idea of another is used for commercial gain without acknowledgement. INTERNET PLAGIARISM5

• citation plagiarism; either not giving credit for sources or removing other citations to make things easy.
• wholesale plagiarism; is blatant piracy and involves completely copying someone else’s work for financial reasons (Sanders, 2010). With the increasing advancement of our digital age plagiarism is getting easier to detect and for a small fee students and writers can stay honest (Posner, 2007). These anti-plagiarism sources benefit the academic world, but what happens when plagiarism is used by large corporations? The Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and also a group of authors and publishers filed a class action lawsuit against Google Book Search (GBS) in 2008. Google denied any wrongdoing but did settle with the plaintiffs for the amount of $45 million dollars to be distributed to the copyright holders. GBS’s...

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Johns, A. (2009). Piracy. Chicago, Il: The University of Chicago Press.
Koehler, W. (2008). In the matter of plagiarism..practice makes perfect. Journal of Library Administration, 47(3/4), 111-124.
Levy, J.B., & Sirico, L.J. (2011, May 2). Student cheaters rely mostly on social networks and wikipedia. Retrieved from
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Posner, R.A. (2007). The little book of plagiarism. United States: Pantheon Books.
Purcell, R.E. (2010). Is that really me?: social networking and the right of publicity. Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, 12(3), 611-639.
Saunders, J. (2010). Plagiarism and the law. Learned Publishing, 23(4), 279-292.
The digital millennium copyright act. (2001, February 8). Retrieved on June 16, 2011 from
Twitter terms of service. (n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2011 from
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