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Plagiarism and Its Impacts

Plagiarism and Its Impacts

Article : Ian Tsang          Edited : Konrede Limited           Date : Jan,2019

According to, the definition of plagiarism is:
“The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.”

Plagiarism exists in both physical and mental forms.  It can occur either intentionally or unintentionally and often take place in the following areas, such as creative industries, commercial products and academics.

Art can be very personal to the creator with emotional attachments.  One can argue imitation is a process of learning.  However, one would gather enough experiences and knowledge through time, in order to create original works.  When developing an art piece, it is very difficult to fabricate an idea from nowhere.  Most of the time, artists are inspired by other artists or existing ideas and objects.  Therefore, it is crucial to credit the sources properly.  If an artist’s creation is referenced from someone else’s work, permission should be obtained before releasing.  For practicing purposes, it is acceptable to imitate other’s works as long as it is done privately.  This can be an effective method to strengthen or to develop different skills.  

Hence intellectual property laws are established to protect original contents, which vary from country to country.  For example, in the UK, the creator is granted the copyright automatically when original contents are produced.  Also, there are specific criteria for works to be counted as original works.  In the USA, copyright needs to be applied via online or mailing.

In the case of academic plagiarism, most are associated with improper citations or submitting other’s work as their own.  This is important when writing a paper, e.g. dissertation, where the students need to present their researches, analyses and findings in order to obtain their qualifications.  Although plagiarism is not classified as a criminal offense unless copyright is infringed, still it is a serious ethical issue.

Digital platforms have developed quickly over the past decades, it is very easy to gather information online.  Tracking the source may be challenging and hence it is getting harder to differ the imitation from the original.  Sometimes the products exist as improvements of others’ works without clearly stating the source of inspiration, which may cause copyright infringements.  

As an artist and creator, it is important to know how to protect yourself and prevent your work from being replicated without your permission.  Including your name or signature on the work is the first simple step.  A patent can be applied for commercial use and it varies from country to country.  

Academic dishonesty may lead to failing subject(s), suspension or expulsion in serious cases.  The process of learning should involve critical thinking and analysis, it is often easier to create your own work than trying to cover up the act of plagiarism.  In a profit-driven society, people may be tempted to take shortcuts.  However, such practice will hinder the creators to innovate continuously since the reward is jeopardised by plagiarism.  The society moves forward and the public benefits from these new ideas, because we strive to make things better.

The fact is, it takes time and effort to produce work of good quality and it is unethical to steal other’s works.  In some less-than-ethical areas of the world, counterfeiting is common and is causing a major issue.  This may damage the brand image and undermine the earnings of the original creator.  The offender will lose his/ her reputation and integrity as an artist, as this will leave a permanent stain to one’s resume.  Continuously stealing other’s works will not make a person to become a true artist and this is not a sustainable method to create.  Ethics are important because they function as guides to keep artists’ works honest and legitimate.  They will help an artist to establish a reputable resume as a professional.  Trust and reputation both take a long time and effort to build and can be destroyed in seconds.

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