Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Is it Copyright Infringement or is it Plagiarism?

Copyright. Plagiarism.

What's the difference? Sometimes there's an overlap, but generally, copyright infringement and plagiarism are distinctly different violations of intellectual property.

Copyright infringement is based on the reproduction and distribution of a work. Copyright can be infringed without plagiarizing. Infringement can occur when someone makes multiple copies of an article and passes it out to everyone that they work with -- or when someone posts a pdf of a copyrighted article to a website without permission from the copyright holder.

Plagiarism occurs whenever anyone presents another person's ideas as their own. Plagiarism can happen without a copyright violation in sight. For example, Nathaniel Hawthorne has been dead for over a century. His works are in the public domain, and any number of copies can be made of them without permission and without infringing. Anyone who'd be so foolish as to try to pass off The Scarlet Letter as their own work, however, would be a plagiarist.

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