/ 12 Cases of Plagiarism and Consequences

12 Cases of Plagiarism and Consequences

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Manish Jindal

March 27, 2024


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12 Cases of Plagiarism and Consequences

In this fast-paced world, many of us intentionally or unintentionally imitate the existing work of others without acknowledging them.

We used to get inspired by the existing work and try to create a new piece with the help of these existing pieces. However, the newly created piece should be unique; otherwise, it will be a case of plagiarism.

This article revolves around cases of plagiarism and consequences.

Key Takeaways:

  • Know what constitutes plagiarism, including both intentional and unintentional copying.
  • Always properly acknowledge the work of others, following the required citation format.
  • Learn effective research and note-taking techniques to avoid unintentional plagiarism.
  • Strive to create new and original work, and avoid the temptation to simply copy others.

Why Do People Plagiarise?

At its core, people plagiarise for a variety of reasons, ranging from the pressure to succeed and lack of confidence in their own abilities to a misunderstanding of what constitutes plagiarism and how to properly cite sources.

Some of the reasons are stated below, which will give you an overview of why people plagiarise:

  • The pressure to excel academically or professionally
  • Due to poor time management
  • Due to a lack of confidence in their own ideas or writing skills.
  • People sometimes used to forgot to keep a record of reference resources
  • A lack of understanding and awareness

7 Cases of Plagiarism and Consequences

Plagiarism has been a persistent issue across various fields, including academia, literature, journalism, and music.

Here are some notable cases of plagiarism that highlight the breadth of the problem:

Plagiarism of Research Papers

The University Executive Council banned the professor of chemistry at Sri Venketeshwar University because of plagiarism. He was accused of plagiarising almost 70 research papers.

All these research papers were published between 2004 and 2007. He was not only banned from taking any future research guidance but was also banned from taking any work related to upcoming examinations.

Kavya Viswanathan Faces Acquisition of Plagiarism on Her Debut Novel

A student of Harvard University faced a severe case of plagiarism for her debut novel, “How Opel Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life.”

It was believed that some of the sessions were lifted from a novel, “Sloppy First and Second Helpings,” by Megan Cafferty. The lifting details were published in the university’s newsletter in 2006.

Due to this acquisition, her career was almost over. Though she said it was unintentional, no one believed her. The contract that she made with a few other books and the movie deal were all cancelled.

Case of Academic Plagiarism at Rutgers University

Instances of academic misconduct have also affected various other institutions. A notable incident occurred at Rutgers University in 2011, where a significant case of plagiarism came to light.

A graduate student named Amanda Serpico faced allegations of plagiarising her end-of-term paper on the topic of same-sex marriage legislation.

The plagiarism detection service Turnitin was instrumental in identifying the similarities between her work and existing sources. This led to a detailed investigation and subsequent explanations from Serpico.

This well-known case of academic dishonesty concluded with Serpico receiving a failing grade for both the paper and the course. 

Helpful Resource: What is academic plagiarism?

Jayson Blair’s Fraud Rocks NYT

Jayson Blair, an editor at the New York Times, engaged in significantly more unethical practices than his peer, Lloyd Brown. He deliberately engaged in intellectual dishonesty on a regular basis.

A review of Blair’s articles revealed his use of fabricated information, images, and other elements to bolster his narratives.

The negative impact of his substandard contributions to the NYT was immense, and the editorial board recognised this issue as stemming from inadequate staff coordination.

Ghostbusters Song Dispute Settled Privately

The memorable theme song for “Ghostbusters,” attributed to Ray Parker Jr., was actually a collaborative effort, though Parker’s co-authorship was only acknowledged well after the song’s debut.

A legal dispute arose when Huey Lewis challenged Parker, citing the resemblance of “Ghostbusters” to his own 1984 chart-topper, “I Want a New Drug.” 

The case was solved outside of court, and the song could not be used in media in the same way again.

First Lady’s Speech Plagiarism

This incident, involving a high-profile figure, the First Lady of the United States, became one of the most well-known cases of plagiarism.

Melania Trump was found to have copied portions of a speech originally delivered by Michelle Obama in 2008.

The discovery led to widespread criticism of Mrs. Trump across the internet, and the incident continued to be a topic of discussion in news outlets and on social media for some time.

Adobe and Apple Case

In 2010, a legal battle unfolded between Adobe and Apple over the unauthorised use of Adobe’s Flash technology in the iPhone.

The dispute was resolved privately, resulting in Apple entering into a licensing agreement with Adobe and compensating them financially.

5 Plagiarism Cases That Went to Court

‘Blurred Lines’ Case

In 2013, the hit song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams was at the center of a high-profile plagiarism case when Marvin Gaye’s children accused them of copying Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up.”

The jury found that “Blurred Lines” had a similar sound and feel to Gaye’s work, leading to a verdict of copyright infringement. Initially, Gaye’s estate was awarded $7.4 million, which was later reduced to $5.3 million on appeal.

This case highlighted the complexities of copyright law, especially regarding the “feel” and “groove” of music, setting a precedent that concerned many songwriters and composers about the potential for future litigation over musical similarities.

Biden’s Plagiarism Ends Presidential Run

In 1988, Senator Joseph Biden faced accusations of plagiarism, leading to his withdrawal from the presidential race. He acknowledged that he had inappropriately copied text in an introductory methodology class without proper citation.

Seeking to restore his credibility, Biden took the matter to the Delaware Supreme Court, which ultimately dismissed the charges. However, Biden’s career was later marred by another plagiarism scandal, this time involving his public speeches.

He failed to attribute proper credit to figures like Senator Kennedy and Neil Kinnock. These incidents of plagiarism culminated in Biden stepping down from his presidential campaign.

Microsoft Settles OS Code Dispute

Microsoft faced allegations of incorporating code from various operating systems into its own Windows OS without authorisation.

The dispute led to numerous legal confrontations, with several firms asserting that their technological innovations had been used by Microsoft without permission or acknowledgment.

Ultimately, Microsoft resolved these disputes by agreeing to a settlement that involved paying substantial amounts in compensation and committing to discontinue the use of specific components from the other operating systems.

Haley Settles ‘Roots’ Plagiarism Case

The well-known author Alex Haley claimed that his book “Roots,” which won the Pulitzer Prize, was inspired by the history of his own family. In 1978, he was accused of using parts of Harold Courlander’s “The African” in his own work.

The lawsuit, which lasted five weeks, ended with an out-of-court settlement, even though Haley initially denied using Courlander’s thoughts and text.

Haley agreed to pay $650,000, which is more than $2 million today, and admitted in public that parts of “The African” had been used in “Roots.”

LaBeouf’s Film Sparks Plagiarism Case

Shia LaBeouf’s first movie as a director was “HowardCantour.com,” which got good reviews at its May 2012 opening at the Cannes Film Festival.

But when the movie came out online on December 16, 2013, it was found to be very similar to “Justin M. Damiano,” a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes. It even used some images from the novel.

The film was ordered to be taken down from internet platforms following a legal cease-and-desist action prompted by the finding. Also, this event made people look again at LaBeouf’s earlier work, which revealed more instances of plagiarism.

Should be Aware of Scientific Plagiarism in India

In the current era of technology, science is not left behind in terms of plagiarism. This field is also facing a serious issue of plagiarism.

One expects to have unique research that helps in the progress of civilisation. This domain will be effected to a serious extent if plagiarism is not detected. 

This issue will have long-term implications for researchers, scholars, and scientists’ careers.

The responsibility for overseeing such a form of plagiarism falls to the Indian Society for Scientific Values (ISSV), due to the absence of explicit regulations for identifying it. ISVV diligently monitors research publications to ensure they align with the ethical standards and values of India.

Consequences of Plagiarism Lawsuits

When someone is sued for plagiarism, they can face a lot of negative impacts that can affect their whole academic and work lives.

Anyone engaged in the production and distribution of content must be aware of these consequences.

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These are seven important effects of claims for plagiarism:

Destroyed Academic Reputation: If a student is caught plagiarising, it can hurt their image for years to come, not just for getting a failing grade. A student with this kind of mark on their record may not be able to get into higher school, get scholarships, or even be considered for some academic awards.

Professional Reputation: If a professional is caught plagiarising, it will have terrible effects on their job. Losing credibility can get someone fired, hurt their image in the professional world, and make it very hard for them to find work in their field again.

Loss of Academic Credibility: Universities and professors who are involved in plagiarism cases lose credibility. This might impact the school’s standing, its capacity to bring in smart teachers and students, and its general image within the academic community.

Legal Consequences: People who plagiarise can be sued and have legal measures taken against them. These court cases are not only expensive, but they can also lead to injunctions, orders to destroy copied works, and even criminal charges in some cases.

Financial Consequences: People who are found guilty of plagiarism may have to pay court fees, fines, damages, and, in the case of academic or professional journals, return any royalties or earnings they made from the copied work.

Plagiarised Research: Copying someone else’s work in your own work hurts the credibility of your academic record, wastes time and money, and could even stop progress in important areas of study.

It can also lead to papers being taken back, which affects all the writers and the body of knowledge in the field.

Loss of Trust: One of the worst things about copying is that it makes people lose trust in you, your teachers, your peers, and even the public. It can take a long time and be hard to rebuild trust, and some people never fully regain their standing in their community or job.

Lawyers who sue for plagiarism show how important honesty and originality are in all kinds of writing and study.

Such examples are a stark warning of what can happen when people don’t follow ethical standards in their work and in school.

Preventing Plagiarism in 5 Ways

Plagiarism, the act of illegal copying and presenting someone else’s intellectual property as one’s own, poses a significant challenge in both academic and professional settings.

It not only questions the integrity of the work but also affects the credibility of the individuals involved. Here are five strategic ways to prevent plagiarism, incorporating essential concepts and terms:

Educate About Plagiarism and Its Implications: The foundation of preventing plagiarism lies in understanding what it entails, including recognising “accidental plagiarism” and “unintentional plagiarism.”

Educational institutions and workplaces should provide comprehensive guidelines and training on recognising and avoiding plagiarism. This education should cover the correct use of “quotation marks,” how to paraphrase effectively, and the importance of citing sources to acknowledge the “original author.”

Highlighting “famous plagiarism” cases can also illustrate the “severe consequences” and “legal issues” that can arise from plagiarism allegations.

Use Plagiarism Detection Software: A variety of “plagiarism detection software” tools are available that can identify potential instances of plagiarism by comparing texts against extensive databases of existing works.

Encouraging or mandating the use of these tools before final submission can deter individuals from plagiarising and assist in correcting any “accidental plagiarism.”

Champion the Value of Original Work: Creating an environment that values “original content” and “creative ideas” can significantly decrease the inclination to plagiarise.

Emphasising the importance of personal integrity and the fulfillment derived from producing “original work” can inspire individuals, whether they are “professional writers,” “professional business persons,” or students, to pursue a “meaningful career” based on ethical standards.

Implement and Communicate a Clear Plagiarism Policy: Having a transparent and accessible policy that outlines the consequences of plagiarism is crucial.

Regularly communicating this policy ensures that all members of an organisation or institution are aware of the gravity of plagiarism and the penalties associated with it, reinforcing the commitment to uphold academic and professional integrity.

Promote Effective Research and Note-Taking Skills: Teaching efficient research and note-taking techniques can further prevent plagiarism.

Demonstrating how to organise information, summarise texts in one’s own words, and meticulously keep track of sources for proper citation equips individuals with the skills needed to avoid unintentional plagiarism.

This approach not only aids in preventing the misappropriation of “intellectual property” but also encourages the development of genuine, innovative contributions.

By integrating these strategies, with a focus on education, the use of technology, the promotion of originality, clear policy implementation, and skill development, individuals and organisations can effectively combat plagiarism.

This collective effort fosters a culture of academic and professional honesty, ensuring the integrity of work across various fields.


The consequences of plagiarism can be severe and far-reaching, affecting content creators, academics, and professionals alike.

With the advent of online plagiarism checkers like Bytescare, detecting instances of plagiarism has become more efficient. However, the alarming rate at which plagiarism issues, including the borrowing of ideas and using material without citation, continue to surface highlights the need for vigilance.

Being found guilty of a charge of plagiarism can tarnish reputations and careers. It’s crucial to acknowledge sources and foster originality.

For a comprehensive check of your work against plagiarism, consider using the Bytescare plagiarism checker. For more information, feel free to contact us.


What constitutes a case of plagiarism?

Plagiarism involves using someone else’s work, ideas, or expressions without proper acknowledgment or citation. This can range from copying text verbatim to paraphrasing someone’s ideas without giving credit, or even presenting someone else’s work as your own.

What is an example of a plagiarism case?

A notable plagiarism case involved a prominent journalist who was found to have copied significant portions of their articles from other sources without attribution.

This led to public embarrassment, the retraction of the plagiarised articles, and the journalist’s eventual resignation. Such cases highlight the importance of originality and the severe consequences of plagiarism.

What are the four 4 types of plagiarism?

The four main types of plagiarism are:

a. Direct plagiarism: copying text verbatim without quotation marks or citation,
b. Self-plagiarism: submitting your own previously published work as if it were new,
c. Mosaic plagiarism: mixing copied material from different sources without citation, and
d. Accidental plagiarism: unintentionally failing to cite sources correctly.

How to solve plagiarism?

Solving plagiarism involves educating individuals about what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it, using plagiarism detection tools to identify and correct potential issues, and implementing strict academic and professional policies that penalise plagiarism.

Encouraging ethical research and writing practices and fostering an understanding of intellectual property rights are also crucial steps.

How do educational institutions detect plagiarism?

Educational institutions commonly use online plagiarism detection tools that scan student submissions against vast databases of published work, including academic papers, books, and internet sources, to identify similarities or copied content.

How can I avoid plagiarism in my work?

To avoid plagiarism, always cite your sources correctly, whether you’re quoting directly or paraphrasing someone else’s ideas.

Use plagiarism detection tools to check your work before submission, and ensure you understand the citation standards required by your institution or field.


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