Plagiarism is Not a Crime Compared to Copyright Infringement

Posted on February 24, 2011

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In dictionaries Plagiarism is defined as the wrongful appropriation, close imitation, or purloining and publication, of another author‘s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions, and the representation of them as one’s own original work. While Copyright Infringement is a violation of the rights of a copyright holder, when material protected by copyright is used without consent.

Plagiarism is not a crime but is disapproved more on the grounds of moral offence. Speaking of crime it is about the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction. Moral here is pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong. For details click Plagiarism is Not a Crime–how About Copyright Infringement.

I can still remember when I took up my creative writing with The Writers Bureau in Manchester, London in 1999 and Journalism and Short Story Writing with the ICS (International Correspondence School) Pennsylvania, USA in 2000 – my tutors told me that titles and ideas have no copyrights – that means anyone can use them.

Also I was told that copyrighted materials after at least 75 years starting the day the author died can be considered as domain materials. And domain materials can be used by anybody that include the Holy Bible and Fairy Tales. But when I referred them to an encyclopedia the definitions of Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement are far beyond of what I have learned from my tutorial schooling. Does it mean my tutors were liars?

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Image via Wikipedia

In Copyright Infringement – the terms Piracy and Theft are highlighted. Piracy refers to an act which is intentionally committed or practice of labeling the infringement of exclusive rights in creative works – for financial gain. And they are called Pirates. The term Theft in Copyright Infringement does not refer to actual theft but an instance where a person exercises one of the exclusive rights of the copyright holder without authorization.

Plagiarism is not the same as Copyright Infringement. However both terms may apply to a particular act, they are different concepts. Copyright infringement is a violation of the rights of a copyright holder, when material protected by copyright is used without consent. On the other hand, the moral concept of plagiarism is concerned with the unearned increment to the plagiarizing author’s reputation that is achieved through false claims of authorship.

Anyway, to avoid from plagiarism and copyright infringement charges – one should ask first the permission or authorization from the copyright holder of copyrighted material and give credits to the authors for their original works.

For those who will have the interest to earn online – you may check the following links: (1) triond.com, (2) wikinut.com. They are paying sites accepting writers/contributors.

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