"Plagiarism is not the same as copyright infringement. While 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."Then there are the following guidelines taken from plagiarism.org here, a site dedicated to preventing "plagiarism."
"What is Plagiarism?
Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work, or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense:
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 or product derived from an existing source.
In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.
But can words and ideas really be stolen? According to U.S. 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 (such as a book or a computer file).
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. "I thought about the uncertainty surrounding the meaning of the term in reading an article that appeared on 1 August in the New York Times. Entitled "Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age" and under the byline of Trip Gabriel here, the article described the purported challenges facing those who combat plagiarism, particularly in the university setting. The following sections of the article are noteworthy.
1. "... [M]any students simply do not grasp that using words they did not write is a serious misdeed. It is a disconnect that is growing in the Internet age as concepts of intellectual property, copyright and originality are under assault in the unbridled exchange of online information, say educators who study plagiarism."
2. "Perhaps more significant, the number who believed that copying from the Web constitutes “serious cheating” is declining — to 29 percent on average in recent surveys from 34 percent earlier in the decade."
3."In an interview, [Susan D. Blum, an anthropologist at the University of Notre Dame] said the idea of an author whose singular effort creates an original work is rooted in Enlightenment ideas of the individual. It is buttressed by the Western concept of intellectual property rights as secured by copyright law. But both traditions are being challenged. “Our notion of authorship and originality was born, it flourished, and it may be waning,” Ms. Blum said. She contends that undergraduates are less interested in cultivating a unique and authentic identity — as their 1960s counterparts were — than in trying on many different personas, which the Web enables with social networking."
Are you confused about the difference between copyright infringement, violation of moral rights, and plagiarism? If so, not to worry--so am I.
1. To the extent that plagiarism is about unauthorized copying of a protected text, then copyright law protects the rightsholder and any reference to plagiarism seems redundent and unnecessary.
2. Ditto for a violation of the right of attribution under moral rights. The fact that a country, such as the U.S., does not provide for a general right of attribution to authors of copyrighted works is a matter of legislative amendment or creative use of various common law rights regarding the relationship between a work and the identity of its creators.
3. Grounding plagiarism within the sphere of ethics and morality limits the potential force of its authority. Appeals to ethical justification to shape collective conduct is difficult at best, problematic at worst. Indeed, when data shows only minority support for condemning plagiarism, at least in some on-line settings, raises the question of the source and legitimacy of the ethical position itself.
4. Intertwining plagiarism within the canon of conduct of defined communities (such as academia) provides a limited solution for the legitimacy problem, but it is not a justification for positing a general prohibition against plagiaristic conduct, even assuming that a consensus could be found for the the meaning of the term.When all is said and done, however, I suspect that two things will remain to be true with respect to plagiarism. First, there will not be any agreement on the meaning of the term; and second, the term will nevertheless continue to be be used in various settings to achieve a variety of results.