In the current age of Google and social media, it’s never been easier to go online and find exactly what you need for a school paper — and then simply copy and paste the material. However, unless what you use is properly cited, this is considered plagiarism, and plagiarism can lead to serious academic consequences, including expulsion from the institution you’re attending.
Plagiarism is not the only example of academic dishonesty, but in this emerging era of remote education, it is certainly becoming more and more ubiquitous. Recycling a paper from another class, whether yours or another student’s, can also qualify.
If you’ve been accused of plagiarism or any other form of academic dishonesty in the Los Angeles area and need to know your legal options, contact my firm, The Law Office of Alec Rose PC, immediately. Charges of plagiarism or academic dishonesty, whether levied against students or faculty, can be stressful and taxing. After all, your professional career may well be in jeopardy. I will work collaboratively with you to develop the best course of action.
Under the law, anything anyone writes, even if it is just stored on a personal hard drive, is considered to be under copyright protection. One does not have to apply for a copyright. Thus, using anything ever written by someone else without quoting and/or citing the original source can be termed plagiarism. Even rephrasing or rewriting another’s work so that it is not an exact reiteration may be considered plagiarism unless proper credit is given to the original author.
In addition to copying another person’s words without properly citing the source, other forms of plagiarism include:
Reusing your own or another student’s work from a different class
Taking the idea of another’s work and using it without citation
Citing fake or non-existent sources
Paraphrasing or changing keywords in the text of others without proper citation
Copying the work of several others and combining them so that the result appears as an original piece
All academic papers involve detailed research and require accurate citations. The paper itself, however, must result in an original piece of thought.
Plagiarism is one of many different forms of academic dishonesty. The University of California, Berkeley, which prefers the term “academic misconduct,” has developed a policy that includes the following actions in the category:
Cheating: Any form of fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in an academic assignment, or assisting others in using prohibited or inappropriate materials
False Information or Fabrication of Information: Failing to identify oneself honestly, or fabricating or altering information presented to a university professor or official
Theft or Damage of Intellectual Property: Sabotaging or stealing the work of another, or obtaining a copy of an exam or assignment before its intended release date
Alteration of University Documents: Putting your name on another person’s work, forging an instructor’s signature, submitting a fake or altered transcript from another institution
Disturbances in the Classroom or Laboratory: Creating an unfair academic advantage for oneself or creating a disadvantage for others
Other schools implement similar standards to The University of California, Berkeley. Institutions of learning cast a wide net when it comes to policing any form of academic dishonesty. Though plagiarism is perhaps the most prominent — and most achievable using modern technology — the older habits of just lying to a professor or conspiring with others to cheat on an exam or assignment can also land you in hot water.
It’s important to remember that professors are not without the tools to catch you. Papers submitted electronically can be verified with online services such as Turnitin.com, where your words are compared to content found on the web. A suspicious professor or graduate assistant can also type in sentences from a written document and check to see if they are original using the same technology.
Everything begins with the person to whom you submit your work. That person, be it a professor or teacher, may decide to reprimand you and make you redo the assignment, or simply fail you for that project with a stern warning. If you are a teacher or professor, your work might be tagged during a peer review.
When matters escalate and you face a formal administrative hearing, however, your future in that academic institution could be in jeopardy. This is where my firm, the Law Office of Alec Rose PC, can help you map a strategy to defend your rights and pursue the best possible outcome for your situation.
I will listen to your story and work with you to develop a strong defense. With your academic and professional integrity on the line, I’ll do everything I can to help protect your reputation and your future. If you live in Los Angeles, or the surrounding areas of Santa Barbara County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County, or Riverside County — contact my office today to find out how I can help you.