As a writer, content creator or even a student who is looking forward to making researches online about an assignment, have you ever heard the word “Plagiarism”? 

And if you’d already known about it, have you pondered on all of its overviews and how it affects you? If you haven’t, then this is just right for you. I’ll be bringing you all the information you most definitely need to know on the topic; Plagiarism.

To ‘plagiarize’, according to Oxford dictionary, “is to copy another’s ideas or works and pretend they are yours”.

A ‘plagiarist’, a person who involves in this is also known as a Literary Pirate

It could be synonymous to stealing or theft of a person’s work and receiving the accolades for it.

The sorry part of this is that it can be done unintentionally and grave consequences apply to such even when the doer is unaware of the act. 

This should make everyone be on the lookout to avoid unintended consequences and also be watchful to avoid being plagiarized.

Types of Plagiarism

This could be in form of direct, self, mosaic & accidental plagiarism to mention a few. 

1. Direct Plagiarism

It’s direct when the text is being copied word for word without editing of any sort. This could be seen as copy & paste. 

2. Self plagiarism

Self plagiarism is when a person submits his/her previous work. This is mostly seen where a student is to write assignment based on something previously done. He/she could be tempted to use the previous work without getting an authorization from the teacher. This could lead to some issues for the individual.

3. Mosaic plagiarism

Mosaic plagiarism is when you borrow from a source without proper citation. This could lead to a fatal incidence such as attracting a law suit for you.

4. Accidental plagiarism

Accidental plagiarism is when someone unintentionally neglects to site their sources. 

Having looked at the meaning of plagiarism and its types. Let’s take a look at the effects for the defaulted [the person whose work is plagiarized]. 

Effects Of Plagiarism

1. This could mean losing the originality of your writings as people would be made to acknowledge another person for your hard work and sweat. For the defaulter, it could mean grave consequences ranging from lawsuits to loss of credibility and qualifications. 

2. It could also mean serving a jail term if the person or organization so affected deems it fit to carry it on to the very last.

If you are looking at how to protect your works from being plagiarized, you should also be checking the other side of the coin which is to ensure that you avoid committing the crime of plagiarism yourself.

How To Protect Your Works From Being Plagiarized

1. Use Anti-Plagiarism Tools

The best method to avoid it is to use anti-plagiarism tools. These tools scans out your writing and checks for possible plagiarism. Grammarly is one of these tools and its totally free. 

2. Credit Your Sources

It’d be very helpful to always cite your works and credit your sources; this would ensure that your readers would see the main source of the information. 

Another way of doing this is including quotation marks. This works best for when you want to copy a particular line or phrase from a source. 

Well even after doing this, it is also necessary to cite your source.

You could also rewrite a sourced’ idea. This doesn’t necessarily mean you could copy and paste and change few things but that you could elaborate more on a topic from information gotten; clearly using only your own words and ideas while not deviating from the main point of view. This is called ‘paraphrasing’. 

3. Develop Your Own Contents

The best though is to present your own unique idea. Ask yourself, what is my contribution to my writing that’s totally just my own idea? 

In addition to this, there’s a clause that states “that people have limited rights to use your content as long as the use is deemed fair”. This is called the ‘fair clause’. This comprises  things like criticism, comment, news reporting, research etc.

Having looked at being the defaulter, let’s look at how to avoid being defaulted and being able to protect your works.

How To Protect Your Works Against Plagiarism

1. Get a Copyright Notice

The next important option really is to get a copyright from the U.S copyright office. Also include copyright notices which may differ depending on type of content created. It would do great to always date and create copies of all your work.

2. Run Searches Online To Know If Or Not Your Work Has Been Plagiarized

You could also search your content with Google by enclosing it with quotation marks. This searches to see if there are exactly same phrases and know if you’ve been plagiarized or actually plagiarizing unknowingly. It’s also advisable to set up a Google alert to check plagiarism.

3. Upload Your Work On Platforms With Copyright Notices On Contents

I’d really advice you to let people [platforms] actually do the protecting job for you. This is done by uploading your works on different platforms so that if someone happens to find it elsewhere without you being cited, he’d notify you immediately. 

I have seen such situations and it’s always helpful. 

Plagiarism has two sides. You could be plagiarized when also plagiarizing someone else, so it’s always important to be watchful and careful to be on the safe side.


This content was contributed by Ikechukwu Genevieve. You may reach her via mail: ikechukwummachukwu2020@gmail.com

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Categories: Resources

Genevieve Ikechukwu

Genevieve Ikechukwu hails from Imo state, Nigeria. Writing fascinates her, being able to communicate a lot of feelings, ideas and concepts, places just through words. she creates communication between her contents and the reader. She is a writer, public speaker, poet and programmer. She is currently working on her first book.

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