When most students think of plagiarism, they may think of outright copying another's works. However, plagiarism can delve into murky territory that includes everything from wrongful appropriation to blatant thievery.
While plagiarism may not be a crime per se, in many academic and professional contexts, plagiarism carries with it serious risks, including expulsion and/or termination from a position, organization, or company.
In its simplest form, plagiarism occurs when someone takes the words or ideas of someone else and attempts to present them as their own. Appropriating a person's work without proper credit is what distinguishes plagiarism from mere citation or quotation. When a writer quotes or cites a person, text, image or other piece of intellectual property, the writer must give credit to where or from whom the quote or idea originated.
The "ideas" part of plagiarism can be especially tricky. Though unlikely, two completely different people may produce the exact same idea at the exact same moment. Inevitably, one person would be guilty of plagiarism. And while this does happen, the instances are few and far between.
Deliberate plagiarism should be avoided in academic and professional settings. To knowingly take the work of others and attribute it as one's own is widely regarded as unethical, unprofessional, and illegal across most industries and organizations.
Many academic and professional services can detect whether entire sections of books, articles and other works are published elsewhere, particularly on the World Wide Web. Additionally, if a writer has a unique writing style and author's voice, it can be even easier to identify plagiarism if the content is cut and pasted into a work with a completely different tone and style.
However, unintended plagiarism is more common that one might think. Sometimes the problem stems from working too closely with source material. To avoid unintended plagiarism, writers often develop new content with the aid of notes, as opposed to whole sources such as books, articles, or web pages. Writers also craft original compositions by working off their own notes and paraphrasing.
Source: Source: Boundless. "Plagiarism." Boundless Communications Boundless, 27 Feb. 2017. Retrieved 27 Jun. 2017 from https://www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/public-speaking-ethics-2/plagiarism-24/plagiarism-112-10647/