Facts About Digital Plagiarism

August 13th, 2021

Reading time about 13 min

Plagiarism is a term that we hear quite often, especially in schools and colleges. Almost everyone knows that the act of plagiarism is unethical and can attract consequences. However, this issue seems to have no end. This is mostly due to the writer’s negligence to check his or her paper for plagiarism, especially digital plagiarism thoroughly. In fact, checking for duplicate content is a task that you have do throughout the process of writing and publishing.

Moreover, this issue has become much more prominent today as even the Internet is plagued with copied content. This form of plagiarism is called digital plagiarism, and the way it is dealt with is much different from the methods we have come to know in educational institutions.

Digital Plagiarism

Is Digital Plagiarism Illegal?

Plagiarism, in general, does not attract any legal consequences by itself. In order for it to become a legal issue, the case must involve the infringement of copyright. According to the copyrights act, only the owner of the copyright has the exclusive rights to reproduce the content, and therefore, any kind of reproduction of the work will lead to a breach of copyright, making the infringer liable to pay for the damages. As long as the content does not have any copyrights, it is not considered to be a legal offence. However, any act of plagiarism is considered to be a serious ethical offence, and the plagiarist have to face serious consequences, which may result in his or her suspension or even termination.

Rise of Digital Plagiarism

The invention of the Internet led to a huge demand for information. As a result, large amount of data kept flowing in the network. There are thousands of websites created every now and then, and moreover, companies keep creating websites to rank high on search engines. All these websites require content. To cope with the massive demand for webpage content, writers looked for ways to churn out articles at a faster rate, and they started plagiarizing content online. However, it is not the regular method of plagiarizing. Plagiarists these days use a number of methods to make sure that their content seem original.

Though there are a lot of tools dedicated to identifying plagiarism, not all can afford them. Apart from that, most people do not have the knowledge or are rather negligent about the presence of such advanced plagiarism checkers. This is one of the few reasons that resulted in the increase in digital plagiarism over the years. Nevertheless, it should be noted that there is always some percentage of plagiarism in any content, no matter how we write. This is because of the sheer amount of information the Internet contains, and there is not much we can do about it.

Rules Regarding Plagiarism

As mentioned earlier, the Internet generates and stores a lot of data, and therefore, writing content that is hundred percent unique is nearly impossible. This asks for certain rules and exceptions to plagiarism.

  1. Accepted Percentage of Plagiarism: Making content completely unique is very difficult as there will always be slight similarities to the content. For this reason, there is an acceptable percentage of copied content, which is up to 15 percent. In other words, your work is allowed to have plagiarism of 15 percent or less. Anything above that number is considered to be unacceptable. As for journal papers that number is increased to 25 percent.
  2. Documenting References: It is a common practice to refer other articles or papers while writing. While doing so, you may take ideas from other articles, which is acceptable as long as you document your references. If you fail to provide valid credits in your work, it will be flagged for content appropriation.
  1. Citations for Common Knowledge: Well-known facts are called common knowledge. Such content need not be cited; however, you must make sure that it is the same for the targeted readers. If you are not sure whether it is considered common knowledge among your targeted community, then it is better to provide citations to the original work.
  2. Citations for Secondary Sources: While you are looking for articles to refer, there is a good chance that you might come across a secondary reference. In other words, certain articles or papers are written using another article as a reference. In such cases, you have to document both the secondary source as well as the primary source, regardless of whether you used it as a reference or not.
  3. Use Quotations: If you are writing certain lines from a reference material, make sure to quote the content. Writing them without quotations will result in direct plagiarism. Also, do not quote entire paragraphs. Try to limit them to a maximum of one or two lines.

These are some of the most important rules to keep in mind while you write your paper. Though there are a number of rules and techniques that you can follow, these rules can act as a starting point. Following these five rules can improve your content considerably.

How to Avoid Digital Plagiarism?

Since there are no differences in the methods used in this type of plagiarism, other than the fact that it is present digitally, one can use the same methods used for avoiding regular plagiarism. There is software that has the ability to find out even the most intricate cheats that plagiarists use. Armed with AI technology, these tools can detect cheats like patch writing, white characters, and symbols. Moreover, the developers of the software have included features like the text comparison and deep scanning.

Having such advanced features can help you deal with digital plagiarism effectively. These features can be integrated to your website with the help of API-based web integration. This lets you get live plagiarism reports thus, making it much more effective than any normal tool that you find on the Internet.

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