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Plagiarism

Copying work and passing it off falsely


What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of copying someone else's work and making false claims to being the originator of it. It's not just infringing a copyright; it's a matter of laying false claims to the credit for it.

Essentially, it goes beyond the misappropriation of intellectual property, and is much more precisely a form of fraud regarding a work.

Plagiarism is explained with quite a good video at www.copyscape.com , the one about "Bob's Fishing Guide". Also, the hypothetical case of Shakespeare and a rival is used to illustrate the explanation of Intellectual Property and Copyright

Plagiarism is an odd word, and you may be wondering where it comes from. So I have included something about the etymology of the word plagiarism here, in case you're interested.

There have been cases where people have plagiarised Zyra's website by grabbing copies of the pages and publishing them as their own. Long before Google went bad, there were Problems with Yahoo. It started when someone took a copy of the page "The Earth is Smoother than a Snooker Ball" and a few other pages and published them on a Yahoo blog as if they'd created the stuff themselves. Yahoo was unapproachable at the time and the problem became very bad. However, after Yahoo set up a London office it became possible to discuss the matter and Yahoo sorted it all out in the end. Well done to Yahoo!

The 2012 Incident

Zyra's website in 2012 had over nine thousand pages. I was somewhat shocked to find someone had downloaded the entire website and selectively plagiarised half of it onto a different domain, creating a cut-down censored version with all of the affiliate content rejigged to make it look as if someone else had created it. The altered version contained all of the dedicated affiliate pages (with changed affiliate ID), but did not contain most of the pages of commentary and hyperbolic allegory. It had also been cunningly adapted to avoid mentioning various special words, such as Zyra, Vivostar, Pescu, etc! Such methods as global search and replace had been employed. There were bogus copyright messages, cut-down lists, and over four thousand three hundred pages with the same page names and the same content as mine. I wrote a message to the offending website in question saying "Can you please explain yourself?!". I also wrote a somewhat more forceful message saying in effect "You've plagiarised my website and copied my pages without permission. Can you please remove this?!" and I pointed out the types of penalties which tend to be imposed for plagiarism on that scale. Fortunately the website's hosting company LiquidWeb took a moral stance on it and stated their company policy was not to allow plagiarised content on their system. The character wrote back to me and said something to the effect of "A rogue web designer built a website for me and has since done a runner". This may have been true or not, but in any event the content needed to be removed, and if the website were to stay in business it needed to have new and original content. I pointed this out. However, within a few days the website was displaying "account suspended".

The problems of there being a plagiarised version of a website in existence aren't simply the fact that it's wrong, and that it's a way of someone profiting out of effort that they did not put in. The main problem of there being a plagiarised version of a website is that Google (and presumably other search engines who have similarly bad algorithms) consider the two versions to be equal rivals and the plagiarised version to be the better one because it's more new. Yes, Google supports plagiarism. You can't report it, either, unless you've got a Google account. I don't have a Google account because I take an ethical stance on it and I refuse to agree to Google's terms and conditions. Fortunately, hosting companies don't like plagiarised material and can shut down rogue websites.

Academic Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a big problem in the academic world. Students handing in reports to be assessed by their university are supposed to have created the material themselves. Sometimes, however, it is discovered that they have cheated by copying someone else's work. This is cheating. It is such a deplorable business that universities tend to expel students who have done it. See www.termpaperscorner.com/articles/plagiarism.html

There are a variety of forms of plagiarism, most of which involve copyright infringement, but some of them not. Examples are explored at www.geteducated.com/elearning-education-blog/10-types-of-plagiarism-and-academic-cheating/

Although there are fake degrees available online for a few dollars, they are of course worthless. Reputable universities would prefer their qualifications to be about ability. If a student lacks ability to write something really good, they might be tempted to get someone else to write the stuff for them for a fee. Now although that's not copyright infringement, as the author has been paid and consented to their work being copied, it is still cheating (plagiarism) because the student is passing off the work as their own, when it's not their work.

A few pages at this site going on about plagiarism on the Net...

Use Care When Typing Web Address

Fair Use of Original Copyright Material found at Zyra's Website

The Difference Between Life Insurance and Health Insurance - which points out that most of the other pages which talk about the difference between Life Insurance and Health Insurance are all the same as each-other!

Also, All Speakers are Microphones and Videotapes can be mended comment on original content and the fact that it needs to be safeguarded.

Other things:

Accidental plagiarism: This can occur when you're creating an original artistic work and you accidentally use something which came to mind only to find it has elements which were remembered from someone else's stuff. The way to get around this is, after you've created something, don't publish it straight away, but keep it for a week or two just in case something crops up.

Self-plagiarism: Sounds silly, because surely you can't steal stuff off yourself? However, self-plagiarism is handing-in an essay or other work to be academically judged, when in fact it is something that's not new, and has previously been handed in. It's poor form on account to trying to get credit for the same piece of work twice.

Parallel creation: This is not plagiarism, but is often accused of being plagiarism. Newton was sure Leibniz was pinching his work, but in fact both were thinking up the same things at the same time. Although it might seem odd that Newton and Leibniz both thought up differential calculus at about the same time, it isn't plagiarism, and neither stole from the other. It was an idea whose time had come, and you can see it's not plagiarism because their workings-out came from entirely different directions and they used quite different notations which weren't initially compatible.