Google and other search engines have made our world a place where every piece of information that we need is just one click away. This has raised certain copyright problems with pictures, audio and text and many people have been sued because of it.
However, one thing that remains a problem is the idea. When it comes to writing, whether it is academic essay writing or just typing up simple articles for a blog, we face this constant theft of ideas.
Students make up the majority of writers who steal content, but they are not the only ones. The process of stealing starts by entering a phrase in a search engine and finding the content adequate enough for the writer to steal. Afterwards, they open a Word document and start rephrasing the idea into their own words.
The result of this action is disappointing, resulting in thousands of essays written and thousands of articles published talking about one idea over and over again.
The reasons for plagiarism
The reasons for the act of stealing someone’s idea are different, but two main reasons stand out.
The first reason is laziness and it is the main problem among students. Rarely do we see a student, willing to go to the library and read the whole set of books connected to the topic of their essay before they come up with their own ideas and conclusions.
In modern times, a contemporary student does not have time nor the will to do such an activity. There is nothing bad about them being able to find crucial information much faster than the generation before them. However, the bad thing is that they, consequently, think less about certain topics.
The second reason for plagiarism is connected to online articles and blogs. This type of plagiarism exists due to the lack of new topics to write about and the constant need for fresh content.
When something is trending on the Internet, such as a popular TV show or gossip about a celebrity, everyone uses keywords revolving around the trending topic in order to optimize their websites for search engines. In this way, we get thousands of articles written about the same thing.
But it need not be only a trending topic. People who share their knowledge about something on the Internet also get copied by other websites and blogs simply because no one can actually put a stop to it.
The third and final reason for plagiarism is the absence of one’s own ideas. Digital age has brought about the opportunity for everyone in the whole world to write something and to be published—but that doesn’t mean everyone should do it.
Consequences of digital plagiarism
Two important things will happen if the amount of plagiarism on the Internet continues to rise.
First of all, students who plagiarize essays will harm nobody but themselves in their life to come. Once they finish college and get hired to do their job, they will lack creative thinking and original ideas to improve their performance and advance in their position. This is also the fault of professors who fail to recognize that the idea was stolen or just simply do not care about essays as long as they are free of errors and the student has used correct grammar.
The second consequence is about content on the Internet—it will start to die out. For example, clickbaits were really popular for a couple of years until people started recognizing patterns and started avoiding headlines that promised a lot of interesting content, but gave nothing. By the same principle, the content in general will be read less and so the written word will have less significance than today.
The way to fight plagiarism
The only way to fight plagiarism is to educate ourselves and never allow laziness when it comes to discussing ideas and reading books on specific topics. This, indeed, requires a lot more effort than just clicking, but it will be the way to avoid the downfall of the personal view, to resisting drowning our articles or essays in a sea of unoriginality.
To sum up, plagiarism is not a new phenomenon and it has existed as long as mankind. Master thieves, such as Thomas Edison, managed to build their whole careers on other people’s works. However, in order to truly become a legend and be remembered for good, one needs to try to be both original and creative, while offering the world something that was not made before, something that will make the world (at least a bit) better place to live—like Tesla.
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Photo credit: Getty Images