Search engines make information readily accessible and convenient to copy and paste but be aware that plagiarism is defined as the act of either intentionally or unintentionally publishing or passing off work that was written or created by someone else as your own work. Any time you use any material from an original source and do not give proper credit, you have committed plagiarism and violated copyright laws.
Plagiarism: How to avoid it
A quotation uses exactly the same words written or spoken by another person between quotation marks and credits the source.
“Citation” and “Attribution” are often used as synonyms, but they mean two different things. Citation is a scholarly practice for tracking the ideological underpinnings of a work, usually referencing sources like published books, articles, government documents, primary sources, etc. Attribution is about crediting a copyright holder according to the terms of a copyright license, usually crediting artistic works like music, fiction, video, and photography. — Cite and Attribute Your Sources
Paraphrasing is using someone’s ideas or words, expressing them in your own words and crediting the source. The paraphrase must be entirely in your own words. You must do more than merely substitute phrases here and there. You must also completely alter the sentence structure and cite a source for a paraphrase even though you did not directly quote from the source.
A summary in your own words of the meaning of and most important elements found in an original passage is shorter than a paraphrase and requires a reference to the material being summarized.
The Limitations of Fair Use
Jonathan Bailey of the Blog Herald writes:
“When it comes to matters of copyright, many bloggers are simply asking for trouble and don’t realize that they are doing so. They take images and put them in their entries without a thought to where they got them, they take articles, in whole or large part, without a thought to who wrote wrote it and tell themselves that their copying of the content is protected by fair use. … This causes many bloggers, especially new ones, to put themselves in risk that they never would have otherwise. Read the full article.
When it comes to The Limitations of Fair Use Jonathon’s advice has and will continue to stand the test of time: Focus on commentary and criticism; Use as little of the work as possible; Attribute obsessively; and Focus on transformation.
Giving Credit Where its Due
The key to avoiding plagiarism is to make sure you give credit where it is due. Quoting and citing all sources you copy, paraphrase, summarize or translate information from is your protection from plagiarism.
Don’t just attribute; link. Linking is an essential part of attribution in online journalism. Linking lets people see the full context of the information you are citing. Even when readers don’t click links, the fact that you are linking tells them that you are backing up what you have written, that you are attributing and showing your sources. — You can quote me on that: Advice on attribution for journalists
If I write about another article, where should I link to the original source?
Matt Cutts, of Google’s Anti-Web Spam Team answers the question:
“I have a blog and I post original articles but I also like to link to the original website. So I link the website in a word in the first paragraph. Is this the right way or I should give a link separately at bottom.” – nayanseth, India
There are many free plagiarism checkers you can use online. Copyscape is a free plagiarism checker. The software lets you detect duplicate content and check if articles are original.
Introduction to Copyscape Plagiarism Checker
plagium (beta) – helps you track plagiarism – simply paste your original text in and click.
Plagiarism: How to avoid it
Why cite your sources?
- Telling your readers which authorities you rely on demonstrates you are well acquainted with the breadth of information on your topic.
- Credibility is reflected via worthwhile sources, so when relying on facts establish they’re trustworthy by demonstrating you got them from authoritative sources.
- Citing your sources is for verification purposes is a courtesy to your readers.
Related posts found in this blog:
Copyright and Public Domain
Copyright basics for bloggers
How to copyright your digital works
Content theft: The come and get it solution
Splog Off! Dealing with content theft
SplogSpot: Dealing with content thieves
Copyright: Fair Use Limitations
What is copyright?