Work for Hire

Hi,

I do freelance writing and have agreed to write copy for someone else’s website. I’ve started writing and have shared some of my work already with the site. Today, I noticed that the website had published my work without a byline or other notice attributing the work to me. Is this plagiarism? How can I get the website to properly credit me for the writing that I completed?

Thank you for your help!

JB

Dear JB,

Thank you for your email and inquiry! I'm sorry to hear that your work has been compromised. A follow-up question that I immediately have is whether you were contracted to--and signed--any "work for hire" agreement. If so, then the work that you authored will belong to the contract-originating organization or individual. By signing the agreement, you have relinquished your right to the work. If, however, you have not signed an agreement, then I suggest that you ask the website to either properly acknowledge the work or to remove your work from their site.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Is it plagiarism? My Teacher and I don’t Agree

Hi,

My name is Paul, and I am a sophomore in Ramsey, NJ. I just received a failing grade on a science lab report because my teacher said that I plagiarized. In my report, I wrote about the germination of seeds. I referenced some information about the germination rates that I found from different sources. The rates that were given were all the same, so I did not cite them.

Is this plagiarism?

Thank you,
Paul

Hi Paul,

Thank you for your email and inquiry! It is important that authors, writers, and students cite their sources. Though it may be the case that the information that you've included in your paper may be appear to be "common knowledge," the determination of whether citation is necessary is your teacher's to make. I'd suggest that you try to speak to your teacher to see if you could resubmit your assignment with the proper citation and receive a new grade.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Answering Textbook Questions by Copying

Hi,

I’ve been taught to answer textbook questions (chapter review questions, for example) by going back to the relevant pages, looking up the answer and then copying the text to answer the question. In fact, this is how I teach my kids to answer their homework questions. I’m also a senior in college and taking classes. One of my teachers has pointed out that what I’ve been doing is plagiarism. Is this so? Have I been plagiarizing throughout all of my school life?

Thanks for your help,
Confused

Hi Confused,

Thanks for your email and inquiry!

The answer is that it depends on your instructor. While copying from the text may have been appropriate for one teacher or instructor, it might not be for another. The straight copying of text--without appropriate attribution--is indeed a form of plagiarism, but whether that constitutes an issue within the context of the assignment or class will depend on the learning goals of the assignment and the instructor's goal in assigning the specific learning task.

That said--and to be on the safe side--you might want to consider rewording the text into your own words and then submitting that as your answer.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Printing and Sharing Information from Plagiarism.org

Hi,

I'd like to download and print out a set (26 copies) of the following handouts for my undergraduate composition class:

1. "What is Plagiarism"
2. "Plagiarism Prevention Guidelines for Students"
3. "Types of Plagiarism"
4. "Plagiarism FAQ's"

All the handouts will include proper reference to the Plagiarism.org site. Is this OK to do?

Thanks,
L

Hi L,

Thank you for your email! Please feel free to reproduce and to share with your students. Because we are interested in disseminating this information, Plagiarism.org grants all reprint and usage requests without the need to obtain any further permission from us. We only ask that you cite the URL of the original article/information from our site.

Thank you for letting us know!

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Copied Homework in an Online Class

Hi!

I am a full-time nursing student. In my class, we are required to to post our homework responses to an online forum twice a week. The online forum is open to all students in the class, so everyone has access to each other’s work. I take great pride in my work and am always eager to see feedback from my instructor. As I logged into the forum the other day to see if there was any feedback from my instructor, I noticed that a classmate had copied and pasted my assignment word for word. The classmate in question did change the font and bolded the subtitles, but all the words were mine. I emailed my instructor to see what could be done. She responded by telling me that this was not plagiarism because the student work isn't copyrighted. This doesn’t sound or feel right.

Can you help?
CR

Hi CR,

Thank you for your email and inquiry! Any work that you or anyone else authors is copyrighted. That said, however, the online forum that you posted to may have a "terms of service" or "user agreement" that you signed off on to use the system that may have abdicated your rights to your work posted to that forum. I'd suggest that you take a look at the "user agreement" for the system. If it turns out that the system does NOT ask you to release your copyrights, then you might consider discussing your issue with someone in student affairs or the office of academic integrity (if you have one).

Hope this helps!

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Been Charged with Plagiarism. What do I do?

Hi,

I’m a film studies student who is just about to graduate. I turned in my final project and accepted a job that I had interviewed for in September.

I thought that I was all set to graduate in December. Yesterday, I received a call from my school informing me that I’ve been charged with plagiarism and will not be able to graduate pending further investigation. Since receiving the call, I’ve been going over my project in my head over and over again. I didn’t copy anyone else’s work have plenty of citations for all of the material that I referenced. The only reason that I can think of is maybe it’s because I submitted the project for a class I was taking in addition to submitting it as my final degree project. Though I’m not sure. Can you tell me, if I submit a project for a class and then as my degree project is this plagiarism?

I am going back to school next week to discuss the charges. I’m afraid that if they consider my final project to be plagiarized that I’ll lose my degree and my job. What can I do?

Regards,
T.

Hi T.,

Thank you for your email and inquiry! I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, some institutions do not look favorably on student re-use of work submitted in one class or project to another. Such use does constitute a form of self-plagiarism. Since you do not know all of the details around the plagiarism claim, your first step should be to get all of the details concerning why your project was flagged. Also, be sure to be proactive in discussing or identifying ways that you might be able to make amends for this situation.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Hi,

I’m just finishing up my post-grad degree in Nursing and have been accused of plagiarism. I believe that the charges are completely false. Can you help by pointing me in the direction of resources or to people who have been in the same position?

Thanks,
M

Hi M,

Thank you for your email and inquiry! Unfortunately, there aren't any resources that I can point you to. I would suggest that you discuss the charges with your instructor(s) and with your school. At the least, I'd suggest that you uncover the basis of the charges. If this was a case of "inadvertent plagiarism," then I'd recommend that you speak with your instructor(s) and find a way in which you might address this claim--either through a rewrite of the paper or by demonstrating in some other way that the work in question is your own.

I also wonder whether you might be able to speak to your institution's student body representatives (in short, any group that works to support and uphold student's rights and addresses issues that students might face).

Hope this helps!

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Improperly Cited Sources = Plagiarism?

Hi,

My son wrote a paper and did attach sources to the paper, but he did not follow the proper citation required. Is this plagiarism?

Thanks
GP

Hi GP,

Thank you for your email and inquiry! Without knowing the complete details, it sounds like your son simply mis-cited the sources. His teacher/instructor would likely see this is an editing error and not necessarily plagiarism. When determining whether a student plagiarizes, intent does matter. That said, however, there are some teachers who insist on students diligently following a set of formatting and citational guidelines. I'm not sure where your son's teacher stands on his/her policies, but it would be good for him to discuss the guidelines with his teacher before beginning the assignment, especially so if there is some confusion about the requirements themselves.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Can I Submit the Same Work to Two Different Classes?

Hello,

Is it considered plagiarism if I submit a paper in one class that I already submitted for a different one?

Thanks,
P

Hi P,

Thank you for your email and inquiry! Whether or not the act of submitting a paper to a different class is appropriate will depend on your instructors. You will need to ask both instructors whether they are comfortable with you submitting prior work or already completed work. If you do not receive their mutual approval, then you will be committing plagiarism.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Referencing Plagiarism.org

Hi,

I would like to use you as one of my references in a paper that I’m writing. Can you advise me on how to reference your site? What information do I need to provide for “publisher,” “journal,” “author,” and “year?”

Thanks,
D

Hi D,

Thanks for your email and inquiry! Here's how to reference our site.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Is Parody Plagiarism?

Hi,

I want to write a poem that is going to be an ironic take on poets who rely too heavily on quoting other poets. If I do this, would this be considered plagiarism?

Thanks,
M.

Hi M.,

Thanks for your email and inquiry! Unfortunately, we can't provide you with any legal advice. But, that said, you might run into copyright issues with regards to the use of unacknowledged quotations. There are exceptions that are made if the piece is meant as parody, but to really determine whether there are any copyright issues, you'll need to consult with a copyright attorney.

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Plagiarism Found in Newspaper

Dear Plagiarism.org,

I recently discovered that newspaper article plagiarized a quotation. In an obituary published by the paper in question, there is a quotation attributed to the deceased that appears to be taken--without proper acknowledgement--from an interview that the deceased gave to another publication.

It is a fairly substantial quotation, which I don’t believe falls under the category of “fair use.”

Do you have any suggestions about what I might be able to do?

Thanks,
R

Hi R,

Thank you for your email and inquiry! If you have significant evidence that points to plagiarism, then you should certainly share that with the editor of the newspaper. At the least, they should print a correction or retract the article entirely. In our experience, newspapers take plagiarism and copyright issues seriously.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Plagiarism.org

Doing Work for Someone Else = Plagiarism?

Hello,

I am a student at a small liberal arts college. I’m a pretty good writer and my friends have asked me for help on their papers. They’ve even offered to pay me for my help. Is doing someone else's work for money legal? If I cite everything properly and write original content, could I get into trouble with my institution for doing this work?

Thanks,
A

Hi A,

Thank you for your email and for your question! Though each college or university has its own academic integrity standards, doing the work for another is not looked upon favorably. I'd suggest that you consult your college's academic integrity policy for additional guidance. In general, it would be better not to pursue this opportunity. If your friends genuinely need help, perhaps you can offer to tutor them--and even charge them for the tutoring. That course of action is typically not a problem.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Plagiarism.org