Why There Is No End to Plagiarism Debate?
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Why There Is No End to Plagiarism Debate?

Why There Is No End to Plagiarism Debate?

So, it’s time for a short survey. Choose a few people you know, such as your peer students, teachers, your parents, grandparents, and anyone whose opinion you value, and ask one simple question to them. ‘Do you think it is acceptable to plagiarize?’ Does it look weird that you have received the same answer from each of them? All of them said ‘No! Of course, not!’ Is that right? For sure, it is clear to everyone that stealing ideas is unethical and even illegal and it seems that this opinion is universal and it does not require any further discussion. And now it is time for a short online survey on the views of the Internet users. What a surprise! Plagiarism appears to be the topic for heated debates!

Recent Cases of Plagiarism

So, what are Internet users discussing now? The editors of Voice of America are having a dispute on the cases to be defined as plagiarism and the scandal is getting more and more intense. A catchy song ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke And Pharrell Williams that gained so much popularity among the listeners that it got the title of the longest-running single of the year in the US but then it appeared to be in the center of the scandal! After a legal battle with the children of Marvin Gaye’s children, the latter got as much as $5 million dollars. The amount is impressive! A debate between the fans of BTS and K-pop band NCT Dream over the song with similar motives is also drawing the attention of the music lovers.

What are the consequences of plagiarism is it is penetrating into all spheres? If Melania Trump was accused of plagiarism after her speech on day one of the Republican National Convention, what can be a higher level of accusations? It is possible to trace similarities between the speeches delivered in 2008 and 2016 on such general themes as honesty, inclusivity, and diligence, then nothing can be hidden and it becomes more and more challenging to remain original in one’s ideas. Other stories of political figures and celebrities also accused of plagiarism are no less exciting and they all create the foundation for a serious question: ‘Why is plagiarism bad but still people cannot do without it?’

The moral codes of different people are mostly similar, but still they do not agree on the ethics of plagiarizing. There are still grey cases which raise a lot of questions and they are looked upon from different perspectives.

What Causes Plagiarism Debate

Who is the actual victim of plagiarism?

  • Is it the person, whose work has been used without due credit to the efforts taken?
  • Is it the audience that expected an original product, but received a copy without any new aspects revealed?
  • Is it the person who took the content that did not belong to him, used it without getting any consent from the owner and was accused of plagiarizing?

Telling lies produces a negative impact on all parties and stealing can never be justified.

What is the motive of plagiarizers? They invent their own excuses for unacceptable borrowings from the work of other people. Some really talented people get involved into seemingly creative work, working on essays and articles for others in the so called essay mills. Is their creativity meaningful? Are their papers truly authentic even if no plagiarism checker traces any similarities? Not really! They just take part in the lies of a significant scope. A vague matching of a new article with the previously written one is also a case of plagiarism, and although it is not that bright it may also cause negative effects.

Ambiguity of Plagiarism

What do you actually expect, reading the autobiography of a soccer player? Few readers truly believe that he composed the text himself. However, ghostwriting in this case seems to be acceptable and even natural. Still, if you are reading an essay that has been awarded with a prize for its bright ideas, you feel disgusted when you get to know about the help of a professional writer. Looking at the post on Facebook, you expect the owner of this particular account to be its author, but in some cases it is just a copy-pasted idea of somebody else. The audience feels deceived and that is absolutely natural.

So, do the expectations of the audience determine whether plagiarism is acceptable? Are there are definite standards of distinguishing between originality, plagiarism within the norms, and actual stealing? Shouldn’t we get a set of standard norms and tackle the issue strictly without any exceptions? The answer you would like to give is positive, isn’t it? You are for the norms, but will it be possible to apply them to everything that is subject to plagiarism? Does the idea that everyone will follow the rules sound likely?

Vague Issues of Self Plagiarism Debate

If the idea of taking ideas of other people makes you frown, what do you think about self-plagiarism? Scholarly recycling of the same ideas seems to be a common practice and there is no actual solution to the problem of filling this gap. There are a lot of confusing issues related to handling the same ideas with overlapping authorship. There should be a factual basis and guidelines for every writer on cases when it is acceptable to recycle the same text and which of them eliminate any chance of using the same thoughts twice.

Try to figure out what you actually feel when you hear the stories of plagiarism in political speeches, students’ papers, music, and other spheres? Do you feel robbed? Do you believe it is the lie that cannot be tolerated? Have you got any doubts about some of the cases? There is still no agreement on all issues related to plagiarism in the modern world which is subject to plagiarism all over. Most probably, you are likely to find excuses to those you like and know personally, but blame those whose stories are nothing more than the subject of news for you. The wrongdoing becomes a subjective matter and the attitude to it depends on emotions only.

That is the essence of the problem. Is plagiarism wrong? The answer is “Yes!” What are the norms for originality? There is no definite answer.

Kelsey Ayton
Born in Warsaw. Studied Psychology at SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities; took part in several inspiring Erasmus programs.
Former Practical Psychologist| Blogger of Various Mass Media | Currently PlagiarismSearch content writer | Mother-Freelancer
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