In this final part of the series I want to get into the main points to remember when looking at plagiarism and copyright. It’s important to remember plagiarism is an ethical issue not a legal one; unless or until it becomes a fraud. Plagiarism Today gives a very good definition of this on their website.
“Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense:
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to "plagiarize" means:
- to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
- to use (another's production) without crediting the source
- to commit literary theft
- to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward. “ (https://www.plagiarism.org/article/what-is-plagiarism)
Whether or not a fraud has been committed however varies across industries and therefore these varying standards make prosecution difficult for plagiarism alone, this is where copyright infringement can take over. Its important for Authors to be secure in their copyright in order to protect their work.
“Key points for copyright in Australia
- Copyright provides creators with an incentive to create new works and a legal framework for the control of their creations.
- Copyright protection is free and applies automatically when material is created.
- There is NO registration system for copyright in Australia.
- Copyright does not protect ideas, information, styles or techniques.
- Copyright does not protect names, titles or slogans.
- There are no general exemptions from copyright law for non-profit organisations.
- There are some situations where copyright law allows people to use copyright material without permission for their own personal use, but these are narrow and specific.
- Australian copyright law applies to actions that take place in Australia, even if the material used was created or first published in another country. “ (An Introduction to Copyright Australia)
Authors need to understand their rights under the law in order to protect their work which varies from country to country. I will list links to copyright information in several countries below. I encourage everyone to read and understand their rights. This will assist you in reading and understanding any publishing contracts and protect yourself from others stealing you copyright.
An Introduction to Copyright PDF can be downloaded here for Australia