Topics: Plagiarism, Copyright infringement, Originality Pages: 6 (1680 words) Published: January 14, 2014
Plagiarism-Are we all thieves?

"He who imitates must have a care that what he writes be similar, not identical... and that the similarity should not be of the kind that obtains between a portrait and a sitter, where the artist earns more praise the greater the likeness, but rather of the kind that obtains between a son and his father...we (too) should take care that... what is like should be hidden as to be grasped only by the mind's silent enquiry. We should therefore make use of another man's inner quality and tone, but avoid his words. For the one kind of similarity is hidden and the other protrudes; the one creates poets, the other apes." - Petrarch, Le familiari, XXIII

The word Plagiarism came from the Latin word “plagiaries” literally meaning a “kidnapper”. This use of the word was introduced into English in 1601 by dramatist Ben Jonson, to describe as a plagiary someone guilty of literary theft. Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and presenting them as one's own original work.

In literature and in the visual arts, from the Renaissance onwards, a canon of models encouraged artists to engage in copying or imitation from other artists' works. Originality, if it exists at all, is not an absolute state; its identification is subject to a scale of relative values and knowledge, it is conditional to time and place.

Brown defines plagiarism as "...appropriating another person's ideas or words (spoken or written) without attributing those word or ideas to their true source." Oxford characterizes plagiarism as the use of "a writer's ideas or phraseology without giving due credit”.

Mere copying and imitation are different things. In imitation, there is a degree of generalisation which avoids the risk of direct quotation, permitting the imitator to move within his or her own imagination. Copying is simply mimicking the other’s work without any intellectual element by the copier.

Plagiarism is considered an academic dishonesty and a breach of journalistic ethics. Plagiarism is not a crime per se, but in academia and in industry, it is a serious ethical offense.
Plagiarism is not the same as copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is a violation of the rights of a copyright holder, when material whose use is restricted by copyright is used without consent. Plagiarism, in contrast, is concerned with the unearned increment to the plagiarizing author's reputation that is achieved through false claims of authorship. Thus, plagiarism is considered a moral offense against the plagiarist's audience.

Why People Plagiarize
Plagiarism is a phenomenon that takes place everywhere around us. Some people plagiarize unknowingly because they do not know what may amount to it. Others plagiarize willingly as they are simply ignorant or lazy. Students are the greatest culprits of plagiarism, when it comes to doing their school/college projects. The reasons why students plagiarize in large numbers are many. Some of them are:

Less time
Ambition of achieving higher grades
Lack of knowledge
Lack of patience
No trust in one's own ability
Sheer lethargy
Ignorance about the consequences of plagiarism

Whatever the reason may be, plagiarism is an offensive act that leads to infraction of originality. A person should try to avoid any such act as far as possible, and cite appropriate references in his work, wherever necessary.

Types of Plagiarism
Academic and journalistic plagiarism is an age-old practice. However, Internet plagiarism is now prevalent in a big way. Moreover, plagiarism has taken many new forms. Now, it is just about cut, copy and paste, or a little rephrasing. 1. Full Plagiarism or complete Plagiarism: Whenever the full content from an author is copied by another without even changing the sentence, word or even...

References: 1. Petrarch, Le familiari, XXIII(1966), quoted in Gombrich, E., Norm and Form: Studies in the Art of the Renaissance, Phaidon Press.
2. Gombrich, ibid
3. Barron, F(1974)
4. Green, Stuart P. (2002). "Plagiarism, Norms, and the Limits of Theft Law: Some Observations on the Use of Criminal Sanctions in Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights". Hastings Law Journal 54 (1).
5. Valpy, Francis Edward Jackson (2005) ,Etymological Dictionary of the Latin Language, p.345.
6. Susan D. Blum(2010), My Word: Plagiarism and College Culture on, ISBN-10: 0801476615.
7. Unpublished paper (2012) “Student Honour Code”. Emory: Oxford College. Princeton University.
8. “What is plagiarism?”(2012). Brown University Library.
9. Dellavalle, Robert P.; Banks, Marcus A.; Ellis, Jeffrey I
10. Sonal Panse (2008), published in
11. Frank Arnau, J
12. Loveleena Rajeev (2012),http:/
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