With the plethora of internet tools available, it should be impossible, should one choose to do it seriously enough, to copy something in such a manner that it can be deemed as plagiarism. There are websites like Copyscape, which will check for duplicate copy between what you have typed and what is already on the web so you should be able to write a completely original and non-copied manuscript with relative ease.
If you are doing the work yourself and you don’t have to rely on anyone else, that is a fairly easy task to achieve. But what if you have too much work to get done and you have to outsource some of it to another person or persons on the web?
Getting a guidline
You certainly can run each and every article you get from these sources through Copyscape, and you should. But Copyscape only gives you part of the story. It will tell you if it is using something that is already online in the places that it checks.
It can’t check everything that has ever been written it will give you a guideline to let you know that it is original and unique to the databases that Copyscape has access to.
What it will do is tell you if there is a copyright infringement or plagiarism as long as it is view-able publicly and has been indexed through Google.
Finding your plagiarized content
If you find something that has been plagiarized, you are still the one that will have to find the section and get it rewritten or if you are the one whose work has been stolen, you will need to contact the people responsible to have the information removed.
This is the best and usually the easiest way to get content removed. The webmaster or owner of that site does not want to get into a legal battle over copyright issues on content that is on their site.
Especially since creation and proof of that creation can run into some long legalities that can become pretty expensive. It is usually just easier to have it re-written or remove it all together.
If plagiarism is suspected and can be proven, the penalties in a United States court can be anything from a mild slap on the proverbial wrist to some pretty stiff fines.
The court can award damages of anywhere from $750 on the low end and as high as $30,000 in statutory damages per each infringement and these can be awarded without proof of any damages that may have actually occurred.
If a work is willfully infringed upon, the court can set the statutory rate as high as $150.00 per occurrence.
Getting in contact
As mentioned, this is a long and drawn out process that most people usually wish to avoid and so a simple contact to let them know there has been a problem will usually suffice.
Most of the online plagiarism that is found is quite innocent and is usually done by accident. With all the media attention on it, most people avoid copying content like they would avoid the plague.
There are however only so many different ways to say things, so if you have someone or some company that is doing or supplying a lot of web content, there is the distinct possibility that some phrases or portions of phrases may end up containing duplication’s that are exact.
Do not do it
The best way to avoid getting caught plagiarizing is to not do it. Sounds simple but not as easy to practice as you might think when writing from web research.
DO all the online research that you need to get familiar with what you need to write and then get off the search engine and write it from memory.
Use synonyms and rephrase things often in your own writing to make sure you are copy free.
If you must be online and using research material while writing, it is best to look at the points in your article and redo them so they are not following the same sequence as the article you are getting the basic information from.
Then there is less likelihood that it will trip the plagiarism flags.
Outsourcing your content articles
If, as a content provider, you need to outsource your articles to different writers, you will need to take extra precaution to be sure that you are not breaking the laws.
For one thing, offer up the various articles and keywords to different writers and not the same writer.
The chances are that if you give a lot of articles on roughly the same thing to the same writer and then turn around and send those articles to different areas on the web, you will get duplicate thoughts and wording.
It is near impossible for one copywriter to write even ten articles and not impart duplicate thoughts to them in several places. Doesn’t make him a bad writer, it makes him human.
If, however you took those same ten keywords and distributed them to five different writers, you would improve your chances of receiving ten unique and plagiarism-free articles. And each of them would have a fresh and different perspective.
Harsh sanctions even at universities
Plagiarism has become such an issue that every major college has developed legal documents that describe it and tell the penalties of copying someone else’s work whether intentional or not.
The Provost University website in North Carolina state that penalties can range from a failing grade to expulsion depending on the severity.
The world has changed and we have to change with it. The way things get done has also changed.
There are a certain percentage of people that will take advantage of shortcomings in the system and try to use that to their own advantage.
That has been the same throughout time and is not likely to change any time soon. As information continues to be easier to locate people will and are tempted to copy and paste things to help them complete a task quicker.
That is human nature. Unfortunately, it is also illegal and known as plagiarism.
How we deal with it and how we avoid it is up to us.