October 12, 2023
Essay writing is one of the most common assignments students get in college. As soon as they encounter it, a question appears: is plagiarism illegal? Before we answer it, let’s figure out plagiarism because this concept is much more nuanced than you probably imagine. Plagiarism is copying another author’s ideas or words with no rightful references. It can be deliberate or accidental — even if you don’t mean to steal content, you're committing plagiarism when presenting someone else’s idea without attributing it to the owner. It has harsh consequences, and the only way to escape them is by learning what kinds of plagiarism exist, what they can lead to, and how to avoid them.
Plagiarism has the power to poison you in every way it can. Legal consequences aside, when you borrow content and don’t attribute it correctly, you are compromising your reputation as a student, future professional, and human being. The college expects you to maintain academic integrity: you’ve come here to learn and to improve your knowledge. By stealing other people’s work, you demonstrate disrespect and show yourself as dishonest.
If you’re caught committing plagiarism even once, your professors will never look at you the same. Even if you become a star student, they will always have this nagging doubt at the back of their mind: what if you’re still plagiarizing? What if they entrust an important task to you or recommend you to someone, and you display another bout of dishonesty? You should still consider your reputation if you don’t care about ethics. That’s why plagiarism is never a solution.
College students guilty of plagiarism face serious consequences that often become a nightmare. To give you an idea, let’s review them by their severity. Note that each college might have unique rules for dealing with plagiarizing students. We collected many stories and testimonies and will share them with you.
Hopefully, you understand why resorting to plagiarism is a terrible idea. It causes serious consequences on a college level. But is it actually prison-sentence-worthy illegal? No. Students might lose a chance at earning their degree, while employees might be fired if caught plagiarizing, but this is it. They won’t be thrown in prison or anything like that.
Copyright infringement is a different matter. Copyright secures the authorship of a person on a legal level; it also lets them determine who gets to use their work in what way. If you didn’t specifically get their permission, you’re breaking the law by using their content. So, plagiarism means taking someone else’s ideas or materials and not attributing them to the real author, while copyright infringement implies reproducing a specifically protected work without permission. You can even cite an author — it won’t matter if they didn’t give you the right to use what they wrote. Copyright tends to apply to literary books or photographs: as a student, you likely won’t face problems with it. Things are more risky when it comes to plagiarism, as it’s common in an academic setting. Still, it’s worth exploring both problems in depth.
There is such a thing as a fair use doctrine, which allows the use of even copyrighted content. One thing to note, though: you can only do it selectively. If your professor asks you to criticize a literary work with a copyright, you can do it freely, using occasional direct quotes and references. Writing a general review of such works is also acceptable. A good example is the endless YouTube channels that produce movie reviews. They show bits from these movies and then comment on them. Doing it like this, in a selective manner, is perfectly within your rights.
Do you feel lost or confused about any aspects of academic writing? Remember that there is always an option to ask for help. Some students seek out professionals with a question, “Could I pay someone to write my paper and make it original?” You can sigh with relief if you have similar thoughts because we’re right here! We excel at exploring different academic topics and producing plagiarism-free essays. You can tell us, “Please write my research paper and give me a plagiarism report,” and we’ll immediately take your order. Whether you need a piece of writing, an explanation, or clarification, we’re always here.
Are you worried about plagiarism now, thinking you might commit it without meaning? Don’t worry; there are ways to avoid it. Just follow these tips:
You know that plagiarism is illegal in academic establishments now. Sure, you won’t go to prison for stealing content, but you may risk failing your course or even being expelled. Following the tips and rules we outlined is a great way to avoid the pitfalls of plagiarism. Do your own research or ask experts for help; cite information properly. Don’t attribute facts that a source didn’t mention to it because you’ll get into trouble. Always use plagiarism detectors and secure the originality of your work.