What are Internet Piracy and Plagiarism?
Internet piracy is copying and/or sharing over the Internet any copyrighted or protected digital file. Though most people think “Internet piracy” means copying, selling or downloading an illegal copy of a movie or a song, it also applies to e-books, software, and pictures. Because all elements of the piracy can be easily conducted on the Internet—bridging long distances and eliminating international borders—this type of theft has become a worldwide crime problem.1
The following definition of plagiarism, which refers primarily to dishonestly copying informational content from the Internet, was created by Plagiarism.org (and they approve of copying it in order to get their anti-plagiarism message out!). Since it is very concise and clear, it’s included here:
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarize" means
someone else's work and lying about it afterward. 2
The problem with both piracy and plagiarism on the Internet is that images and information published on the web are so easy to find. Google searches bring up hundreds of articles and photos, and because most are not marked otherwise, computer users assume that it is OK to cut and past to copy, or to download these digital files. However, just because files are easy to copy, doesn’t mean that it is morally right or even legal to do so.
1 Hill, A. (21 June 2012). What is internet piracy? Retrieved July 31, 2012, from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-internet-piracy.htm
2 What is Plagiarism? (n.d.) Retrieved July 31, 2012, from <http://www.plagiarism.org/learning_center/what_is_plagiarism.html>
Safety & Legal Issues
You may not be aware that you have plagiarized or think that it's just an unimportant issue. However, ignorance of the law is no excuse and there are penalties for plagiarism and cyber piracy. Copyright laws allow for the "fair use" of protected works for certain purposes, such as news reporting or research. If charged with copyright infringement (piracy) in a civil suit, you may be liable to pay damage costs plus the amount of any profits you made on the stolen material. In some cases the court could impose penalties of $30,000 to $150,000, depending on whether or not the piracy was unintentional or willfully done. (17 U.S.C. 504) A violation of copyright law can also be considered a federal crime when done willfully with the intent to profit. Criminal penalties include up to ten years imprisonment depending on the nature of the violation. (No Electronic Theft Act, 18 U.S.C. 2319) 3
Academic institutions do not take plagiarism lightly. At most all schools students will certainly receive zero credit for the plagiarized project, and may also fail the course in which that project was assigned. Often plagiarism is also punished by expulsion from the institution. Employers will often terminate an employee who has plagiarized work on the job. Plus, there also may be legal penalties for plagiarism, according to Plagiarism.Org:
punishable by fines of anywhere between $100 and $50,000 --
and up to one year in jail. Plagiarism can also be considered a
felony under certain state and federal laws. For example, if a
plagiarist copies and earns more than $2,500 from copyrighted
material, he or she may face up to $250,000 in fines and up to ten
years in jail.
3 Seltzer, W. (n.d.) FAQs about piracy or copyright infringement. Retrieved August 5, 2012, from http://www.chillingeffects.org/piracy/faq.cgi#QID286
Tips for STUDENTS:
Tips for PARENTS:
Tips for EDUCATORS:
Widely referenced around the Internet, this cite should be the first stop for
those seeking to understand and combat plagiarism. Includes
plagiarism FAQs and webinars on related topics.
Indiana University School of Education
A tutorial on how to recognize plagiarism.
A blog post discussing the effectiveness of "zero tolerance" policies
towards plagiarism in schools.
A writer's blog about families, ethics, environmental issues, and the