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Is plagiarism a crime?

Students sometimes want to present someone else's work as their own. Nowadays, this is easy to do with so much information on the Internet. On the other hand, it isn't hard to identify a plagiarist, either.
If a person has been caught presenting someone else's work as their own, they are always at risk of punishment for plagiarism. He/she/they will sometimes be publicly condemned or expelled from an educational institution. In more severe cases, the plagiarist can go to jail. It all depends on the context — content type, purpose, and what they tried to do with the stolen and appropriated copyrighted material.

Plagiarism in school or college

Plagiarism in school or college is severely punished. Why is plagiarism a crime? Imagine intellectual property is violated, and teachers are misled into thinking that the plagiarist is the work's author. Stealing and cheating is always criminal violation of the Code of Academic Integrity.

If a student or pupil plagiarizes, the type of punishment depends on the policies of the particular institution. In most cases, cheating on an exam or test also equates to student plagiarism. The teacher and the academic committee have the right to:
  • Deny a student their degree, and put them on academic probation;
  • give a poor grade for an entire year;
  • impose a disciplinary penalty or fine;
  • prohibit participation in extracurricular activities;
  • make a permanent record of the offense on the student's record;
  • expel from the school or university.
In all cases, the plagiarist risks their reputation and career. If expelled, they may not be admitted to another college, nor will they be able to get employed. A person convicted of the plagiarism once will always be mistrusted.
Many institutions are interested in raising awareness among their students about plagiarism. Every school has databases listing all student papers and services to check for similarities. Teachers offer special courses on academic ethics to teach about proper citations and penalties for plagiarism.
It's not plagiarism when a student correctly cites and references other sources. The volume of citations mustn't exceed the student's work. Otherwise, a student doesn't contribute anything new to the discipline by paraphrasing something that is not his/her own.

Copyright infringement

Plagiarism is the appropriation of someone else's work of art or research. It is considered plagiarism to use a significant portion of another person's work without citing the source.
Copyright infringement is not the same as plagiarism; it is a set of exclusive legal rights held by the original work's author. Copyright infringement can constitute plagiarism as well as piracy. Copyright owners are the ones who decide by whom and how their work can be used. They have the right to prohibit copying and distribution without their consent.
The copyright law protects the original work of all authors, including developers and programmers. This law also applies to unpublished papers, books, or articles.
Plagiarism and © infringement cases are dealt with mainly in civil lawsuits rather than criminal ones. The court charges the offending plagiarist a fine of up to $150,000.

When plagiarism gets you in jail

There are cases where plagiarism can make you land in prison. Plagiarism is a crime when it:
  • It is used for financial, lucrative purposes, such as to get a job or to make money.
  • It caused direct financial loss to the legitimate author, e.g., in the case of a stolen trademark or patent.
  • It occurred in a state whose laws criminalize this type of cheating. For example, if the plagiarist copies the copyrighted work and earns more than $2,500, he can be fined up to $250,000 and imprisoned for up to 10 years.
Plagiarism leads to serious consequences and reputational damage for the person who committed it, their company, their employer, and anyone associated with the stolen work. The court does not care whether they knew they were accomplices in the plagiarism.

Skandy helps you avoid accidental plagiarism

A plagiarist can be punished regardless of whether the plagiarism happened intentionally or unintentionally. To avoid plagiarism, it is important to cite sources correctly and not to abuse large fragments of other people's text excessively.
You may be a victim of catching plagiarists when it turns out that another person's theses and phrases were used upon inspection of your work. You may have done so unintentionally by formulating a thought in someone else's words, but you will have to prove it. Sanctions will follow nonetheless, although they will be milder than if you plagiarize deliberately.
To avoid being penalized for plagiarism, use the Skandy checker. The Scanner for plagiarism is equipped with artificial intelligence. It analyzes billions of pages of open source material within a few minutes and generates a detailed report on non-original fragments in the text. By working on the results of the report, you can enhance the quality of your work, and rest assured that no plagiarism charges will follow.
Text author: Columbia Proof

September 6th, 2022

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