The concept of plagiarism applies to all kinds of documents--books, newspapers, magazines, journals, maps, technical diagrams, artistic illustrations, computer programs, voice/sounds, music, photographs, videos, etc. The documents may be stored in any type of medium--paper, film, magnetic tape/disk, optical disk, solid-state card or stick, or other storage media. The format of documents varies from simple handwritten text to encrypted digital files. Analog or digital signals transmitted via cable or radio waves are also included. In other words, all kinds of documents are relevant.
In the pre-Internet era, the concept of plagiarism was relatively straightforward. Plagiarism was any type of text, imagery or other material copied from another source and presented as the student's own work. However, many people have the belief that materials obtained via Internet (WWW, FTP, etc.) are "free" and can be downloaded and used in any way without restrictions. This is not true. All materials provided via Internet--no matter what kinds of documents--are protected by copyright or trademark of the publisher, no matter who the individual or organization may be. See copyright.
Students are encouraged to write in their own words, create their own illustrations and maps, take their own photographs, produce their own videos or music, etc. Copy-and-paste writing is not acceptable. Detecting online plagiarism is possible through various services that search web documents for key words and extended text phrases. So-called "content searching" has become relatively sophisticated and allows for rapid checking of suspected plagiarism from web-based sources worldwide.
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Last update May 2012. © J.S. Aber.