Probing Plagiarism Deeper – Part 3
Not being informed about the law is not a way out of the problem you are in. Even if you don’t intend to plagiarize, there are sanctions that will still be given to you. However, the magnitude of the sanctions differ from intended plagiarism and unintentional plagiarism. The law is just and lets you have the chance to fight for your case because of the law of fair use. Because of this, you are able to prove that you did not intend to plagiarize and your penalty will be decreased.
The laws safeguarding copyrighted products still allows some of the ideas and concepts to be borrowed and this is by law of fair use. This law regulates how much idea you are only able to copy and use in your work without the permission from the author. These laws are created by the government of USA to make certain that copying certain concepts from original work is only justified if it is reasonable.
There are two factors that will be studied for considering fair use. First is the reason why and how it is used. Of course, if you simply copied the idea from the original, it is no longer considered as fair use. But if you make a new material out of your investigation and inference from another source, then it may be considered as fair use. But, you should always be reminded that the the lesser the idea you borrowed, the greater the chance you will have a good defense. Second, what the influences of your work have over the original material. If by utilizing some parts of the original and a damage is done to either the integrity and profit of the material, it is not fair use.
You must see to it that no damage results from trying to challenge with the original idea whether it is intentional or not. There are some concepts called public domain where you are able to borrow ideas without being concerned about plagiarism, only with proper credit to the author. These ideas can be accessed to and be borrowed by anyone who wants to use it. How can a particular material be a public domain? A material published for greater than 75 years is a public domain.
During 1978, a law was passed that all published materials in this year and consequently will be protected by the author’s lifetime and another 70 years after he died. But, laws are quite complex for those materials published before 1978 but dated back less than 70 years. Usually, a material is copyrighted for about 28 years from publication and another 47 years if there is a renewal of the copyright. So, all in all, it is protected for 75 years after it was published.
If you are not sure if it is not a public domain, better seek help from a lawyer to sort these things out for you to avoid lawsuits and charges. It is better to be safe, rather than be locked up behind bars for being unaware of these things.