Blog entry by Oluwasegun Babaleye

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by Oluwasegun Babaleye - Thursday, 17 September 2020, 12:00 AM
Anyone in the world

A lot of  people think of plagiarism as copying another's work or borrowing someone else's original ideas. However, terms like "copying" and "borrowing" often disguise the seriousness of the offence:

ACCORDING TO THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER ONLINE DICTIONARY, TO "PLAGIARIZE" MEANS

To steal and pass off  as one's own

To use  without crediting the source

To commit literary theft

To present as new and original an idea derived from an existing source

In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. This involves both stealing someone else's work and then lying about it afterwards.

BUT CAN WORDS AND IDEAS REALLY BE STOLEN?

According to United States law, the answer is yes. The expression of original ideas is considered intellectual property and is protected by copyright laws, just like original inventions. Almost all forms of expression fall under copyright protection as long as they are recorded in some way.

ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ARE CONSIDERED PLAGIARISM:

Turning in someone else's work as your own

Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit

Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks

Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation

Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit

Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)

 Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source is usually enough to prevent plagiarism. 

WHAT ABOUT IMAGES, VIDEOS, AND MUSIC? 

Using an image, video or piece of music in a work you have produced without receiving proper permission or providing appropriate citation is plagiarism. The following activities are very common in today’s society. Despite their popularity, they still count as plagiarism.

Copying media (especially images) from other websites to paste them into your own papers or websites.

Making a video using footage from others’ videos or using copyrighted music as part of the soundtrack.

Performing another person’s copyrighted music (i.e., playing a cove

Composing a piece of music that borrows heavily from another composition.


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