Copyright Infringement vs Plagiarism

How To Avoid Copyright Infringement

Written by Jez Hunt

Create Content

13th March 2018

You have probably heard the terms ‘Copyright Infringement’ and ‘Plagiarism’, but what do they actually mean, and how do they affect us?

Let’s start with some definitions, in this case, according to oxforddictionaries.com:

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Infringement (noun)

The action of breaking the terms of a law, agreement, etc.; violation.

‘copyright infringement’
‘an infringement of the rules’

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Plagiarism (noun)

The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.

‘there were accusations of plagiarism’

Let's start with Copyright...

Copyright laws can be quite complex, but here is a summary based on my understanding:

  • Copyright applies to pretty much anything which appears in some physical (including digital) form, so text in a book, music, films, images/photographs and text on the web etc.
  • Copyright occurs at the point of creation of the work by the individual (or company) provided it is regarded as original and shows some level of skill or degree of labour – regardless of whether the phrase ‘Copyright’ or © symbol is used.
  • You can’t copyright names, titles, short phrases, colours or ideas, but a creation combining these ideas – e.g. a logo – can be subject to copyright.
  • Copyright has a ‘duration’ which differs based on what category the work comes under, e.g. for a literary work, it is currently 70 years after the death of the author.

Copyright Infringement is where you take and/or use someone else’s work which is covered by copyright, without having their permission do so, thus infringing certain rights they have as the copyright holder.

For example, finding an image somewhere on the web in a web search and then using all (or part) of it on your website, or on your business card or in one of your information leaflets etc., without getting the copyright owner’s permission to use it in this way – This counts as copyright infringement.

(For more information on copyright, you can read the UK Copyright Law factsheet from the UK Copyright Service).

 

Now, let's look at Plagiarism...

Plagiarism is sort of related to Copyright, but not quite the same, again, based on my understanding:

A typical example of this would be copying text from a website and using it on your own website or brochure. There is no harm in doing research on a topic and then using the theme of the topic to write your own piece, but just copying someone else’s post or page as it is is a no-no. And no, changing the odd word here or there doesn’t count as “original work”!

Some of the things which count as plagiarism include:

  • Copying work or ideas from someone without giving them the proper credit.
  • Using a quote but not putting it in quotation marks.
  • Using a quote and giving incorrect details about where the information came from.
  • Implying (intentionally or otherwise) that someone else’s work is your own.

This list is not exhaustive, but hopefully you get the idea.

So, why does, or should, this matter to you?

When you are starting out in business, you realise there are many people out there who also do healing. You’re looking to create your own website or information leaflets. You’ve never done this before…

It’s tempting (and easier!) to look at what other healers have included on their websites so you can include it on yours… It’s only a “Copy & Paste” away, rather than the half an hour or hour you would need to write about the topic from your own viewpoint.

And I can understand why so many people do give in to the temptation… but it is NOT OK to do either of these things. Apart from anything else, it’s dishonest… and putting out the ‘intention’ that you are dishonest to the universe is not a wise move when it comes to being ‘on purpose’ and manifesting what you want.

Anyway, my point with this post boils down to this… only use your own original content for your business.

When using images, use your own or pay for Royalty Free images from websites such as shutterstock.comistockphoto.com or gettyimages.co.uk which allow you the rights to use them for your own purpose. Or you could pay a professional photographer to take them for you.

With ‘copy’ (text), by all means do your research, but write your own version, or again, pay a professional to write it for you.

Writing your own content isn’t actually that hard… like any skill, it can be learned and you get better with practice. I have taught many people how to write/create stuff for themselves, and there are tips and techniques which can be used to help you.

Featured Image by JHM

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