Plagiarism is something that all writers should be concerned with. I know that when we all first learned of it in our first English class we all thought nothing of it, but when you first took that one little part from a book and used it in your paper and got found out, you realized it was a pretty major issue.
For those of you who don't know, plagiarism is defined as:
Originally Posted by Dictionary.com
1. a piece of writing that has been copied from someone else and is presented as being your own work
2: the act of plagiarizing; taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own
If any moderator suspects that someone has plagiarized any of the works written here, that user will be dealt with as we see fit. The staff will discuss it amongst themselves and come to a decision. Plagiarism is not going to be taken lightly here—
if you are serious about writing, you already know the damage plagiarism can do to your reputation. If you are not a serious writer, please just follow the rules and you will
be fine. If you see something you would like to use, please contact the author and ask for permission, and then be sure to give credit where credit is due.
Next (kind of going hand-in-hand with plagiarism) is another important issue: copyright. Not many people fully grasp what it is or how it works, so I would like to go into depth a bit here to help people gain a better understanding:
Originally Posted by whatiscopyright.org
Copyright is a protection that covers published and unpublished literary, scientific and artistic works, whatever the form of expression, provided such works are fixed in a tangible or material form. This means that if you can see it, hear it and/or touch it - it may be protected. If it is an essay, if it is a play, if it is a song, if it is a funky original dance move, if it is a photograph, HTML coding or a computer graphic that can be set on paper, recorded on tape or saved to a hard drive, it may be protected. Copyright laws grant the creator the exclusive right to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute, perform and display the work publicly. Exclusive means only the creator of such work, not anybody who has access to it and decides to grab it.
As you can see from the above definition, anything written on the internet can be copyrighted as it is saved to a hard drive. What is not stated in that paragraph is the fact that you do not have to have a copyright registered in order to be protected by copyright laws. According to the US Copyright Office:
Originally Posted by US Copyright Office
Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author or those deriving their rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright.
From this, we can see that from the moment it is written here, you have a copyright and nobody can steal your work. This is not always easy to prove though, which is why if you have a story you are serious about publishing, you may want to seek a registered copyright. You can register at the US Copyright office for $30. You can go here
to be sure you have a literary work and get the exact instructions about how to register.
You can find a plethora of information out on the web about copyright. Some good places to start are:
More importantly: if you find any suspicious material posted on Writer's Beat, please notify a staff member.