Cheating and Plagiarism - Avoiding Plagiarism
Length: 404 words (1.2 double-spaced pages)
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For a number of years now, I have been concerned about the growing amount of plagiarism on the Internet. As self-publishing on the web becomes increasingly common, the incidences of theft of intellectual property, whether intentional or unintentional have grown astronomically. As a writer , I find this situation intolerable. Intellectual theft is still theft. It harms everyone involved, the original authors, the audience, and the plagiarizer. As members of a spiritual community, we believe that all our actions will be returned up us three fold, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Certainly intellectual theft, intentional or unintentional has its own return.
After so many attempts at trying to inform people of problems on their websites regarding the improper citation , I decided that perhaps the best approach is to document what constitutes plagiarism and to provide to people who are sincere in presenting information in an intellectually and spiritually honest manner, with some guidelines for proper citation of sources.
First of all plagiarism is derived from the Latin word, plagi rius, meaning to kidnap (American Heritage® Dictionary). This implies that plagiarism is in fact the kidnapping of ideas; an interesting concept since kidnapping implies that the idea could be seized and held for some kind of intellectual ransom. The dictionary is more explicit about its meaning:
1. To use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one's own.
2. To appropriate for use as one's own passages or ideas from (another). (American Heritage® Dictionary)
Plagiarizing is to give the impression that the words written or the ideas presented are in fact your own. The MLA Style Manual, the definitive guide for scholarly publishing used as a bible in colleges and graduate schools defines plagiarism as any not acknowledging another’s ideas and wording, either through direct buy undocumented quotes or through paraphrasing (151). They further reflect:
Plagiarism is a moral and ethical offense rather than a legal one. Most instances of plagiarism fall outside the scope of copyright infringement, a legal offense.
Plagiarism remains an offense even if the plagiarized work is not covered by copyright law or if the amount of material used and the nature of the use fall within the scope of fair use… (151)
Paraphrasing, is an especially insidious form of plagiarism. Paraphrasing changes some of the words and gives the impression that one is presenting one’s own ideas, materially stealing the essence of what another person’s intellectual work.