Internet Plagiarism

Running head: INTERNET PLAGIARISM1 Internet Plagiarism Anna Pindell Devry University INTERNET PLAGIARISM2 Plagiarism, copyright laws and social networking. Social and professional networking sites have changed the way we connect and network to other people. It has become a necessity to utilize these sources as a way to communicate and express our thoughts, ideas and interests often by posting a written statement or image. Too often these expressions are stolen without the knowledge of the original source.

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Plagiarism is considered fraud and idea stealing is an act of plagiarism. Copyright law must be used in conjunction with the rules of plagiarism to protect the expressions made by people on social networking sites. Plagiarism can take on many forms. According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to “plagiarize” means: • to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own. • to use (another’s production) without crediting the source. • to commit literary theft. • to present as new and original an idea product derived from an existing source.

Simply put, plagiarism is an act of copying and it has been around for centuries, even before the invention of the printing press by German inventor Johannes Gutenburg around 1450 A. D. Historians say that there was very little regard for authorship and that scholars and other authors liberally copied works from others using scissors and paste. In the 17th century during a sequence of internecine wars between England, Scotland, and Ireland, Monarch Charles I was tried and sentenced to death and Britain was ruled by INTERNET PLAGIARISM4 republican systems that often ignored patents and licensing and allowed the ook trade to expand. Poor writers were paid to use the works of more successful writers in order to create journals and pamphlets that could be sold at a profit. Publishing pirates often reprinted original best selling books into smaller formats that could easily be disposed of and could charge a cheaper price in order for larger amounts of people to purchase not just royalty. These pirates would then mix and match content as they saw the need or opportunity (Johns, 2009). The time between then and the late 20th century, plagiarism has been verily easy to detect.

There were fewer sources then to copy and there wasn’t the dissemination of information that we have today. Today, publishers have to contend with several forms of plagiarism: • self-plagiarism; which is when an author uses his own work over and over again without acknowledgement. • literal, or word-for-word plagiarism; which is when an author uses another author’s text word for word without acknowledgement. Plagiarism of this nature is considered academic fraud. • image plagiarism; can range from table and diagrams to artwork and photographs. Often it is easier to prove copyright infringement when it comes to imagery. Ideas plagiarism; when an idea of another is used for commercial gain without acknowledgement. INTERNET PLAGIARISM5 • citation plagiarism; either not giving credit for sources or removing other citations to make things easy. • wholesale plagiarism; is blatant piracy and involves completely copying someone else’s work for financial reasons (Sanders, 2010). With the increasing advancement of our digital age plagiarism is getting easier to detect and for a small fee students and writers can stay honest (Posner, 2007). These anti-plagiarism sources benefit the academic world, but what happens when plagiarism is used by large corporations?

The Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers, and also a group of authors and publishers filed a class action lawsuit against Google Book Search (GBS) in 2008. Google denied any wrongdoing but did settle with the plaintiffs for the amount of $45 million dollars to be distributed to the copyright holders. GBS’s supporters would argue that preserving books by digitizing them help us to access our past and in the wake of natural disasters this process is necessary. Top publishing houses and universities from all over the world including Oxford University have supported GBS since 2004.

Many feel that if GBS has to ask permission for each book that is in print or out of print it wouldn’t exist. However, if they don’t ask permission and they are using excerpts or complete copies of these books that is plagiarism and because many of these books are still in copyright the rights of the copyright holders has been violated. After all Google is not completely altruistic, they are making a profit from their invention (Koehler, 2008). INTERNET PLAGIARISM6 Social understanding of intellectual property rights change as our culture changes.

The more we know about past literary rights the better we can make arrangements for the rights of our future. The first copyrighted law came into effect in 1710 with the British Statute of Anne. This statute asks the Queen and Parliament to prevent corrupt printers and booksellers from reprinting and publishing the works of original authors and proprietors. This act also asks the Queen that any of these published works that do not have the consent of the original proprietor be used for waste paper and that one penny for each sheet published be charged to the immoral publishers and then given to the Queen and her family ((Netanel, 2008).

Two hundred years later famous authors like Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, and Edgar Allen Poe were to campaign for copyright protection (Koehler, 2008). Since then copyright laws have been changed and revised. In 1976 The Fair Use Doctrine was added as Section 107 of The Copyright Act of 1976 and states that “The Fair Use Doctrine is one of the most important limitations on the exclusive rights of the copyright holder. It allows that copyright can be infringed because strict application of the law impedes the production and dissemination of works to the public” (“What is fair,” 2011).

This act provides a four-part test for fair use. Under section 107: the factors that need to be considered for fair use are the following: 1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; INTERNET PLAGIARISM7 2. the nature of the copyrighted work; 3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and 4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors (Koehler, 2008). These factors are very important in determining copyright infringement in today’s fast-pasted information exchange. The Internet has changed the way we are informed and how we are educated. It has also changed the way we are connected to those around us. In 1994 one of the first Internet Social Networking sites was launched called Geocities. com.

The concept of this web site was for users to created their own web site in accordance to one of six cities (Hollywood, New York City, etc. ) In 1995 Theglobe. com gave their users the ability to interact with others and publish their own life experiences. In 1997 Sixdegrees. com launches which allowed its users to create their own profile and list friends. 2002 introduced us to Friendster. com which allowed us to connect with real-world friends. Friendster. com grew to over 3 million users in 3 months and was quickly followed by Myspace. com in 2003.

In the years to follow there is a surge in social networking sites to include; LinkedIn. com, Classmates. com, and Tribe. net to name a few. Then INTERNET PLAGIARISM8 in 2004 Facebook. com is launched and quickly turns into the most successful and widely used social networking site in the world. In 2006 Twitter. com is launched as a site that is also a social networking site that encourages micro blogging and instant messaging. Today’s current statistics show that from April of 2009 to February 2010, Facebook nearly doubles its membership status from over two hundred million to over four hundred million active users.

In 2008, Twitter reported an annual growth rate of 752 percent, capping off the year with a total of 4. 43 million unique visitors in December (Purcell, 2010). It’s safe to say that social networking sites like the ones listed above have changed the way we connect to each other. These sites have given even the most introverted personality types the means to communicate and stay connected to people all over the world. Social networking sites have changed the way we communicate with each other and they have also changed the way we dispute each other.

Early in the history of social networking sites people were filing lawsuits against such sites for slanderous statements made from one user against another. They also sued for inappropriate image postings, illegal use of trade marking, fraudulent promises, and other liability risks. Luckily in 1996 the U. S. Congress foresaw these increased liability risks and created the Communications Decency Act (CDA) that contains provisions that minimize some of these liabilities (Purcell, 2010). This CDA grants interactive computer service providers (ICSP’s) immunity from civil suits.

Because of this immunity social networking sites have expanded and become hugely successful. INTERNET PLAGIARISM9 However, in order for these ICSP’s to qualify for this immunity they must remain liable for “any law pertaining to intellectual property” (Purcell, 2010). Intellectual property is the product of human creativity, thought, and inventiveness. Even though intellectual property is intangible, it can be more valuable than real or personal property (Bouchoux, 2001). Napster was a successful company until it fell under the scrutiny of the intellectual property law.

In addition to these intellectual property liabilities the ICSP’s must also self regulate their sites to screen for offensive or obscene material. Intellectual property rights are protected under the terms of service for Facebook. com. When you accept these terms of service you are granting Facebook “a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP (Intellectual Property) content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it. (“Facebook terms of,”) Twitter’s terms of service state that “you agree that this license (agreement) includes the right for Twitter to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use. ” (“Twitter terms of,” ) These services agreements are legally binding documents. If you want to participate on these social networking sites you must accept these terms of service.

INTERNET PLAGIARISM10 The best way to protect yourself against social networking sites using your images and other intellectual property is to create your own web site where it will be protected by copyright laws. For $35 anyone can get his or her work legally copyrighted. Although copyrighting your work is not necessary if you decide to not publish your work. However, if someone steals your work and you want to file a lawsuit a copyright will be necessary. Copyright law gives the owner of the copyright the legal right to do what they want with what they have created.

It is then up to that individual to determine how their product will be used, copied, and transferred. It is also up to the copyright holder to grant permission to use their product. If the copyright holder does not give you permission then you have no right to use their product. It has been the forbearance by copyright holders from enforcing their rights in order to accommodate most social networking users. If the forbearance were to stop the success of social networking would slow down considerably.

In 1997 the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was made into law where, among other things, states “In general, limits Internet service providers from copyright infringement liability for simply transmitting information over the Internet. Service providers, however, are expected to remove material from users’ web sites that appears to constitute copyright infringement” (“The digital millennium,” 2001). Basically, if you post a video of your baby dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” the DMCA can send you a takedown notice. Which they did in 2007.

INTERNET PLAGIARISM11 Some would argue that the copyright laws should be changed to allow participants of social networking sites to create and distribute their derivative works to promote the creation and dissemination of information for the progress of culture and social justice. The labor of these derivative works have been applied only the original concept has been kept the same. Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster created Superman and from that invention spawned other great superheroes like Captain America, Batman, Spiderman, Green Lantern, and the Fantastic Four.

If Siegal and Shuster would have filed a lawsuit to all of the other artists that created superheroes then those superheroes wouldn’t exist and our culture would not know them. Fan fiction is a popular medium typically written in blog form where the characters of popular stories are re-written and the plot is changed, perhaps from the perspective of a villain or sidekick. There are several of these works written online using the J. K. Rowling Harry Potter characters. While these characters and the pretend world they live in are considered plagiarism under sections 101, 103, and 106 of the Copyright Act (Jamar, 2010) they still exist.

Rowling herself has stated that she will sometimes use the Harry Potter online dictionary when she’s writing something new because it’s easier for her to find information quickly than to have to go back to her previous works. However, when a fan tries to publish these works of fan fiction she will take them to court and she will win. All of her characters, the magic they do and the environment they live in are pieces of her intellectual property and are protected by copyright law. Only J. K. Rowling can decide what happens to them.

Fan fiction writings and other derivative works may seem harmless and seemingly may assist in the expansion of our cultural expression, using another person’s intellectual property is causing students from kindergarten to college age to have a very passive outlook to cheating. With the vast amounts of information online students feel as though this information is there’s for the taking. They are getting their information from a variety of online sources and studies show that one third of students plagiarize using social networking sites (Levy, & Sirico, 2011).

Many of us use social networking as a means to stay connected to people and events in our lives. Social networking has made it possible to share and communicate with people instantly from all over the world. Understanding the Terms of Agreement behind these sites will make us aware of the risk involved in posting our thoughts, ideas and interests. The more people know about stolen rights the more likely they are to do something about it. Standing up against these social networking sites will force the Copyright Laws to include acts of plagiarism.

INTERNET PLAGIARISM12 References Bouchoux, D. . (2001). Protecting your company’s intellectual property. New York, New York: American Management Association. Facebook terms of service. (n. d. ). Retrieved June 16, 2011 from http://www. facebook. com/terms. php. Jamar, S. D. (2010). Crafting copyright law to encourage and protect user-generated content in the Internet social networking context. Source-Widener Law Journal, 19(3), 943-872. Johns, A. (2009). Piracy. Chicago, Il: The University of Chicago Press. Koehler, W. (2008). In the matter of plagiarism.. ractice makes perfect. Journal of Library Administration, 47(3/4), 111-124. Levy, J. B. , & Sirico, L. J. (2011, May 2). Student cheaters rely mostly on social networks and wikipedia. Retrieved from http://lawprofessors. typepad. com/legal_skills/2011/05/student-cheaters-rely-mostly-on-social-networks-and-wikipedia. html Netanel, N. W. (2008). Copyright’s paradox. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. Posner, R. A. (2007). The little book of plagiarism. United States: Pantheon Books. Purcell, R. E. (2010). Is that really me? social networking and the right of publicity. Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, 12(3), 611-639. Saunders, J. (2010). Plagiarism and the law. Learned Publishing, 23(4), 279-292. The digital millennium copyright act. (2001, February 8). Retrieved on June 16, 2011 from http://gseis. ucla. edu/iclp/dmca1. htm. Twitter terms of service. (n. d. ). Retrieved June 16, 2011 from http://twitter. com/tos. What is fair use? (n. d. ). Retrieved June 16, 2011, from http://www. ala. org/ala/issuesadvocacy/copyright/copyrightarticle/whatfairuse. cfm.


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