If you thought plagiarism only happens in campus, think again. People of no small repute are losing their jobs as a result of plagiarism. The latest victim of plagiarism is the celebrated TIME columnist and CNN host, Fareed Zakaria.
The Huffington Post reported Zakaria admitted to lifting parts of a story from the New Yorker Magazine. Consequently, both CNN and TIME magazine have suspended Zakaria for a month. Plagiarism is not illegal, though it is considered unethical by academic institutions and media houses.
The Merriam-webster dictionary defines plagiarize (transitive verb) as:
“To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own; use (another’s production) without crediting the source.”
As an intransitive verb:
“To commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.”
It’s way easier to copy or ‘lift’ content from the internet or some other publication than doing the hard work yourself. But remember, in this age of digital content, it is very easy to cross-reference your term paper with other literally work online.
There are a number of free softwares for plagiarism detection, which lecturers can easily use to counter check your term paper. According to Wikipedia, instructors can also detect plagiarized content even without using copy softwares by;
1. Students’ choices of sources are frequently unoriginal; lecturers note passages copied from a single source by different students.
2. It is often easy to tell whether a student used his or her ‘voice’
3. Students may choose sources which are inappropriate, inaccurate or off-topic
Some universities either suspend or fail a student who has been found guilty of plagiarism.
If you happened to attend a strict university, your degree may be cancelled years after your graduation if the Uni admin discover your thesis had plagiarized sections.
Last year, The Guardian reported that the popular German defence minister resigned after it emerged he plagiarized parts of his PhD thesis. The University of Bayreuth stripped the minister of his doctorate for copying from other sources.
Other famous plagiarists include renowned author T.S Eliot, US VP Joe Biden, Pulitzer winner Alex Haley, filmmaker James Cameron among others.
Image: University of Connecticut