We are in the cyber era where everything is one click away. The Internet is available almost everywhere and getting faster than ever. One second you’re a trend, the other you’re in oblivion. One thing doesn’t go unpunished, plagiarism. Where does it stand in the Cyber Age?

First Off

Plagiarism is not new. It traveled the ages for millennia ever since “monkey see monkey do.” We copy what we believe is helpful, get us attention, or make us look cool. It’s no brainer, and it doesn’t take PH.D. in psychology to recognize the signs of people copying what they see.

When I studied art, we would copy what our eyes saw. That is to train the eye to replicate what it sees in detail from shapes to nuances of colors. Graphic Design and Illustration are two practices among many to develop the eye in precise training to copy and mimic. Even recognize whatever it sees and associates it with basic shapes and colors.

When I draw a character, whether it is animated or a portrait for the first time, I usually create a grid and almost draw “by number” to have the exact emplacement and form. One could almost believe I traced it.

It happened. I had people believe so on DeviantArt. I was harassed, stalked, and threatened for months. Despite other drawings which I was used to doing, proving the work to be mine, this particular click still believed I committed plagiarism and copyright infringement. However, that’s for another article on cyberbullying.

Is fan art plagiarism? NO. Artists wouldn’t be able to live without fan art. Unless you are selling the original art, erasing the signature of the original artist and pass it as your own, you are not plagiarizing. However, in some cases, you can be a fraud if you are tracing and saying you did the entire piece. Again, that’s another subject.

Don’t Piss Me Off

The concept of plagiarism is one I never thought I would confront in an adult situation. With the webzine I created, two people who participated since the very beginning, sent me articles. We are talking before the launch of the so mentioned webzine. The articles were exquisite and written, with much thought and captivating.

I was lucky to have my ex-editor and ex-boss with me. We were all sitting around my kitchen table, as writers all came by for the launch of the webzine. My ex-boss reached out to me through Messenger so that no one would hear her. I read the message; it said, “It’s over 90% Plagiarized.” She sent me a link to the software she would use for her own blog I worked for at the time.

The two writers copied and pasted entire paragraphs from various sources and passed it as their own. That, my dear friends, is plagiarism. It is now so simplistic with the Internet and millions of blogs available to us to copy the information and pass it as ours.

Don’t get me wrong; when writing blog articles, I often have many websites up and opened. I go from one to the next and read the information. However, I do not copy paste unless under quotations with a link to the original post and mentioning the writer or author.

The cyber age of blogs and writing is growing. Checking for plagiarism is now part of the everyday routine of editors, and to our surprise, often we find ourselves stuck with writers that believe we can’t see the obvious.

Surprise: we have the app!

I was lucky enough to work with professional writers that do not believe in plagiarism because they are artists and authors themselves. However, I do know of editors facing plagiarized articles day after day.

In case you know someone who is confused about it.

The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own. ‘there were accusations of plagiarism‘ count noun ‘it claims there are similar plagiarisms in the software produced at the university’

Oxford Dictionary of English

Three Times’ The Charm

Many in the writing community heard of this one author. I won’t say her name anymore she knows who she is. She copied and pasted passages of another author’s work. The thing is, the author is not a nobody and has quite a following. Her friends loved the author who plagiarized too.

The copy and pasting weren’t as rigorous, as she adapted it to her own story, but the essence and choice of wording “you say tomato, and I say tomato” remained the same. Also, the fact is, she did pass it as her own.

The writing community is small, and we stick together. Sadly, this ended the career of this author quite instantly. The news spread like a flame to paper. She didn’t stand a chance. She might still be writing under another name, who knows, but I’m ready to bet she learned her lesson.

The thing is, it is okay to have inspiration brought to you by someone else’s work! That’s normal. Nobody is reinventing the wheel here. However, it is all in your approach that it either reads as a rip-off, tribute, or plagiarism.

As a noob, you might copy. As you practice refining your writing or art, you might find yourself ripping off and not even realize it. Then, finally, you find your voice. No matter how you choose to do it, don’t print or release your work until it’s your voice and certainly don’t plagiarize! Hire a decent editor who can slap your wrist if you do.

Use common sense.

Finally

Do not accuse someone of plagiarism when they are clearly stating that the work they are sharing belongs to another artist or author. Do not accuse a blogger of sharing passages of a book that is available to the public when the said-blogger is promoting the work of others.

Some people don’t understand the concept of plagiarism. It is okay to share the work of other people as long as you are not passing it as your own. Period. There is no rule of quotation here. All you need is to see that the person is not stating that it belongs to them.

Do not start a fire where there is none. Do not start drama. It belongs on the stage with actors. We are artists who need the support of others to make our career. Don’t accuse where there is no crime. This isn’t the Dark Ages.

A.D. Wayne