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Understanding Plagiarism: Prevention and Legal Implications


Plagiarism occurs when someone makes unethical use of someone else’s ideas or content, etc., without giving credit to them. From its very definition, it is evident that plagiarism is something to avoid. In this post, we are going to give you a better understanding of what the legal consequences of plagiarism are and how you can avoid it. We will discuss both of these one by one.

Understanding the Nature and Legal Implications of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is considered prohibited and unethical regardless of the setting and industry in which it is practiced. Although we are going to be talking about it from a “legal” perspective, we want to briefly point out the other repercussions it can generally bring about in its wake.

  1. In the online world, plagiarism can result in various consequences stemming from search engine policies and guidelines. For instance, if a particular website plagiarizes content, it can get penalized by the search engines in the form of a rank reduction or a complete de-indexing.
  2. Other than the technical stuff, plagiarism also brings with it various “reputational” consequences. The person or party practicing it has their reputation spoilt, and they considerably lose their integrity.

These are, of course, repercussions other than the legal consequences that are concomitant to plagiarism.

From a legal standpoint, the main implication that plagiarism can cause includes copyright issues.

Nowadays, every other material existing online is bound to the original creator/owner via copyright laws. When someone plagiarizes such content, they don’t only commit something unethical, but they also bring themselves in the firing line for copyright lawsuits and disputes.

As a result of these lawsuits, etc., the plagiarizing person or party can end up having to pay fines and even get some jail time (depending on where they are and what sort of material they’ve plagiarized).

Prevention Strategies for Plagiarism

Judging from what we’ve talked about above, it’s evident that plagiarism isn’t something that people will keenly practice nowadays. But, the problem is that plagiarism is not always intentional. In a lot of cases, plagiarism occurs as a coincidental match between the content that someone writes anew, and content that is already existing on the Internet.

This is called accidental plagiarism.

Considering the sheer amount of content that is published online, avoiding plagiarism is not just about not doing it. Rather, since there is always the possibility of committing it accidentally, you have to make an active effort to look for it and remove it when found.

It is in light of this that we’re going to talk about the prevention strategies now.

  1. One of the ways to prevent plagiarism from accidentally occurring in your content is to be very diverse in your research. Lackluster research is one of the prime reasons behind accidental plagiarism. If, for example, you only use a couple of sources for research, you can get a bit influenced by the tone they take and the information they share. Then, once you start with your own stuff, you can carry that influence in your writing. This automatically ends up in plagiarism.
  2. Another way to prevent plagiarism is to always thoroughly paraphrase any content that you may feel like borrowing directly from a source. If you do it word-for-word, then it would automatically be counted as plagiarism. But if you paraphrase it properly using a high-quality paraphrasing tool, the content would get changed enough not to look at all similar to the original version.
  3. In the same way, if you ever have to borrow content from somewhere, you should cite it properly using in-text citations and detailed references. This is also a way to neutralize plagiarism since it is an act of giving credit – the absence of which is the definition of plagiarism.
  4. Above and after all of this, you should also take care to check any content that you write for plagiarism using a plagiarism checking tool. That way, if there is any plagiarism in your content, you can deal with it before finalization.


Plagiarism is, in a nutshell, an unethical act that is fraught with various consequences and repercussions. We’ve talked about some of the main stuff in the post above.

Every time you create and publish some content, you have to ensure that it does not contain plagiarism – at least not in excess of the allowed limit (if any). You can do that by taking the steps and measures that we’ve mentioned above.

Also Read: US Copyright Law Against Paraphrasing Of Copyrighted Material


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