If someone asked you “Have you ever plagiarized something?” you would answer “Certainly not!” with an unpleasant face. However, there are various types of plagiarism that you do not know about at all. Plagiarism exists everywhere, but many people do not care about it seriously. They cannot even recognize it, just as they cannot find out the differences among melodies of the latest song. You might be astonished when you realize that you have done lots of plagiarism unconsciously according to the following.
● How Was Plagiarism Born?
The word plagiarism, the word is not a familiar thing and can even sound weird. The dictionary definition of plagiarism is “an action of using or copying someone else’s idea and pretending you created it first.” It was derived from Latin word “plagiarius,” which means abduction. In other words, creating a new thing is like giving birth to the creator, and the result is a “child.” Thus, if someone uses the work without revealing the sources, it is considered as abduction of creativity.
Plagiarism frequently appears in the art or academic world. Also, there are diverse expressions for “plagiarize” which have identical meanings, like crib, pirate and illegally copy. Among them, “pirate” means that plagiarizing is the same as piracy. Through the origin of plagiarism, we can see why plagiarism must be uprooted.
● Similar But Different from Plagiarism
There are some expressions that can make you confused in distinguishing plagiarism. They are parody, homage, sampling, and cliché. You may have heard about them at least once, but you may not know the differences accurately. Let’s figure out what features are different from plagiarism.
- Parody: Parody creates a new work while imitating the original one to criticize something or someone. It is recreated satirically and humorously. As you know, SNL Korea is a representative parody program. It deals with our daily issues, especially political events, and makes us laugh when reminded of the original.
- Homage: Homagemeans copying some part of an original work with great respect and admiration to the originator. Therefore, it emphasizes that part. It is used in many fields such as movies, songs, cartoons, and novels. Recently, there was a controversy over Korean girl singer Hyun-ah’s song because it was so similar to that of famous boy group G.O.D. She insisted that she had been paying homage to the song without their permission.
- Sampling: Sampling is literally borrowing some melodies of the original. This does not requirepayment to use the original song because it is so popular or does not have requirements for copyright. Classic and pop music are representative targets of sampling. For instance, IVY’s popular song ”Temptation of Sonata” samples Beethoven’s “Für Elise.”
- Cliché: This is a French word meaning a “hackneyed phrase.” It remarks something conventional, stereotyped, or typical as a method to express something. In short, it lacks originality. You can easily imagine the scenes in a movie in which a heroine suffers from amnesia and so forgets all the memories with her lover or stories in which a rich, handsome, yet rude boy falls in love with an extremely normal girl.
● Plagiarism Versus Copyright Infringement
In modern society, people can easily hear of plagiarism and copyright infringement. They are regarded as the same thing, but actually this is not true. Even though they have similar meanings, there are definitely differences.
As you can infer from the meaning of copyright in the word itself, it is the right that is granted to the creator to protect their intellectual property by law. Therefore, if someone infringes on the copyright, it could be a penal offense; that is, they could be punished as a criminal. However, plagiarism is not regarded as a crime, but it is moral concept. It is usually done with academic work butrarely becomes a lawsuit.
Up until now, you may have realized that copyright infringement was an extension of plagiarism. Then, what elements make plagiarism into copyright infringement? There are three answers specified in the law. First, something has to be copied from the original creation, of course. Second, there must be the similarities among the original one and problematic factors. Third, they have to be illegal, causing property damage. Through these conditions, you can judge whether the work is a crime or not.
● Universities Covered With Plagiarism
When you are wandering in CBNU, you can see many banners on which you should be careful about the copyright when you use the font. If you use a word processor like Hangeul or Microsoft Word, you would see the fonts that start the spelling with Yoon. Most of the students know that these fonts are free. Therefore, students use the fonts not only for private files like reports but also for public files which are shown to others like Power Point used in their presentations. However, using Yoon fonts is not allowed outside of personal use. As a result, an office who owns the fonts of Yoon litigated with CBNU on September 20th. The office insisted that CBNU should buy the licenses if it wants to use the fonts. The litigation is still going on. Through this happening, the members of CBNU realized that it was not legal. Thanks to this occurence, they knew and made the resolution of knowing copyrights of fonts.
- Book Copying
All students feel that textbooks are very expensive and thick. For that reason, the students usually bind their textbooks after copying them. Around the university, there are lots of book copying stores. However, book copying is definitely one kind of plagiarism. Even though most students, professors, and storekeepers know the fact that it is illegal, book copying is a very common phenomenon and seems not to vanish at once.
- Revealing Sources
CBNU Students have lots of homework. Every semester, they should submit vast reports and make presentations. To write the report by the due date, students commonly find the information online since it is easy to access. The problem is that they copy and paste in their reports without marking sources. Students also scrape all the contents from other people’s reports. Since all students think that the content online is for free, they omit the sources. Students always should keep in mind to mark the sources.
Why Are We So Insensitive to Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is obviously considered a serious offense. It belongs to the category of “Antragsdelikt,” a law that cannot work without a complaint by the victim, so people do not recognize how serious plagiarism is until they are accused. Due to the widespread ignorance about plagiarism, people do illegal book copying or quote others’ words easily. Moreover, some people may consider it as a normal practice, not a serious crime. In particular, Korea is overflowing with plagiarism compared to other countries. Koreans grew up learning “sharing” is important in this society. Thus, they do not divide “yours” and “mine” accurately. This social climate paralyzes the recognition of plagiarism. In Europe, the patent system was not settled completely in the 19th century; people were even against the patent system. However, the recognition for the patent was gradually changed and finally was settled in the 1980s. Nobody challenged this in Europe. In this way, the perception can be changed. Therefore, Koreans must escape from the insensitivity of plagiarism and establish the appropriate law preventing people from plagiarism.
● Let’s Get out of Plagiarism!
Then, how can we avoid plagiarism? First, the most simple and most crucial thing to avoid plagiarism is citing and revealing the owner. Citing the source and giving the credit to the original owner is an obvious thing to do as an intellectual. Second is paraphrasing and summarizing; however, these two ways are not recommendable. For example, Wikipedia is a source of paraphrasing and summarizing by public; nevertheless it needs citing at all times. Third, it is better to synthesize the information from books than to get the information quickly from internet sources. Try to make this into a habit. Last, the fundamental way is to keep in mind that plagiarism is a serious academic crime.
- Self Check: Am I a pirate?
: Look at the situations below and figure out if it’s plagiarism or not.
Copying from the encyclopedia which is common knowledge but not citing the source.
: Whether it is plagiarism or not depends on the information being used. “Common knowledge” means information that doesn’t need citations because it is a universal thing. For example, Newton was born in England.
Accidentally plagiarized without knowing.
: This is plagiarizing without any intent. Not knowing the fact that it was plagiarizing does not justify the crime, though.
A sentence that has been paraphrased without citation.
: This is plagiarizing. Although it has been paraphrased, it needs citations. Because the original source is already in the sentence, it is just changing them around with your own words.
Citing famous proverbs or sayings without the source.
: This is not plagiarizing. Sayings or proverbs are common knowledge that everyone knows.
Using another person’s creative work without citing the source.
: Of course this is plagiarism. Plagiarism is stealing one’s intellectual property!
Plagiarism is no better than stealing others’ property. Just as you think yours is precious, others’ work is as precious as yours. Through understanding the concept of academic ethics, we should be aware of our society’s prevalent problem, plagiarism. As intellectuals, CBNU students ought to be honest and make a social atmosphere that emphasizes intellectual property as one’s right. Let’s stop piracy!