Key Takeaways:

  • Plagiarism is using someone else’s work without giving them credit. This includes copying verbatim, paraphrasing without citation, and using someone else’s ideas or creative work without permission.
  • Some of the most common types include verbatim plagiarism, paraphrase plagiarism, patchwork plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and plagiarism of multimedia content.
  • It is important to avoid plagiarism to maintain academic integrity, protect your reputation, and comply with copyright laws. 
  • Plagiarism is on the rise due to a number of factors, including the ease of access to information online. 

Have you ever come across a piece of writing that seems eerily familiar or perhaps too good to be true?

In today’s digital age, the temptation to copy and paste someone else’s work is all too easy, but what does that mean for the original author and the person committing the act?

In this blog, we will look into the issues of plagiarism and explore the age-old question: “What is it called when you copy someone’s work?”

We’ll discuss the various forms of plagiarism, why it matters, and how to avoid falling into the plagiarism trap.

So, let’s embark on this intellectual journey to better understand the importance of respecting and crediting the hard work and creativity of others.

What is it Called When You Copy Someone’s Work?

When you copy someone’s work without giving them proper credit, it is called plagiarism.

It is an unethical practice that involves using someone else’s ideas, words, or creations without acknowledging the original author.

In academic, professional, and creative settings, it is taken very seriously and can result in significant consequences.

To maintain the integrity and produce original work, it is essential to understand and avoid plagiarism by properly citing sources, paraphrasing, and developing your own unique voice.

Some examples of plagiarism:

  • Copying and pasting a paragraph from a website into a research paper without citing the original source.
  • Paraphrasing a section of a book or article without giving proper credit to the original author.
  • Using someone else’s artwork or images in a presentation or project without obtaining permission or giving proper attribution.

Types of Plagiarism

types of plagiarism

There are several types of plagiarism, each with its own characteristics and implications. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones:

Global Plagiarism

This type of intellectual theft occurs when a person submits an entire work (such as an essay, research paper, or project) created by someone else as their own.

This can involve purchasing a pre-written paper from an online source, hiring a ghostwriter, or submitting a friend’s work as your own.

It is considered a severe form of academic dishonesty and can result in significant consequences.


It occurs when you reuse your own work, such as a previous essay or paper, without proper citation.

This might seem harmless, but it’s important to remember that each assignment requires original thought and research.

Patchwork Plagiarism

It is also known as mosaic plagiarism.

This occurs when someone takes phrases, sentences, or paragraphs from different sources and combines them to create a new piece of content without using quotation marks.

Even if the writer changes some words or modifies sentence structure, it is still considered literary theft if proper citation is not given.

Verbatim Plagiarism

Verbatim plagiarism, also known as direct plagiarism, involves copying and pasting online content from a source without making any changes or providing proper citations.

This can include lifting entire paragraphs, sentences, or phrases from a source and incorporating them into one’s own work without acknowledgment.

It is easily detectable and can lead to severe penalties.

Paraphrase Plagiarism

Paraphrase plagiarism occurs when someone rewrites someone else’s work in their own words but fails to acknowledge the original source.

Even if the wording is different, the idea still belongs to the original author and must be cited.

It can be more challenging to detect but is still considered dishonest and unethical.

Why Does Plagiarism Matter?

Plagiarism matters for several reasons, which include the ethical, academic, professional, and legal implications it carries.

Here’s why appropriation of another’s work is a serious concern:

Ethical implications: Appropriation of another’s work is fundamentally dishonest and undermines the values of trust and integrity.

By plagiarising, you misrepresent someone else’s work as your own, which is unfair to the original creator and damages your credibility.

Academic implications: In educational settings, it is a serious violation of academic integrity.

Schools and universities require original work to assess students’ understanding and skills. It can lead to failing grades, loss of scholarships, or even expulsion.

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Professional implications: It can harm your professional reputation and career prospects. In fields such as journalism, publishing, and research, a history of plagiarism may result in job loss, difficulty finding new employment, or a tarnished reputation within the industry.

Legal implications: It can lead to legal consequences, especially when it involves copyrighted material. The original author may file a lawsuit for copyright infringement, which can result in financial penalties or, in some cases, even imprisonment.

Creativity and intellectual growth: Literary theft stifles creativity and intellectual growth. When you rely on the work of others, you miss out on the opportunity to develop your own ideas, voice, and critical thinking skills.

To foster creativity and maintain your credibility, it’s essential to understand and avoid unintentional plagiarism.

Is it Possible for Words and Ideas to be Taken Without Permission?

can ideas and words be used without permission

While words and ideas might not be tangible objects that can be physically stolen, they do represent the intellectual property of the creator.

When you use someone else’s words or ideas without proper attribution, you are essentially taking credit for their intellectual work, which is considered theft in an intellectual sense.

Intellectual property rights, such as copyright laws, exist to protect the interests of authors, artists, and creators, ensuring they receive proper recognition and compensation for their work.

By plagiarising, you violate these rights and undermine the value of original thought and creative expression.

Moreover, the theft of words and ideas can have a detrimental impact on the advancement of knowledge and creativity.

When people feel that their work can be taken without consequence, they may be less motivated to share their ideas or engage in intellectual pursuits.

By respecting intellectual property and avoiding copying someone’s work, you contribute to a culture that values and rewards creativity, originality, and intellectual growth.

Understanding Plagiarism in Multimedia Content

Copying someone’s work is not limited to written content; it also applies to images, videos, and music.

Using someone else’s visual or auditory creations without proper permission or attribution is considered a form of intellectual theft, and it can carry similar consequences as plagiarising written work.

Here’s what you need to know about copying other’s work in these formats:


Unauthorised use of photographs, illustrations, or other visual content without permission or proper citation is a form of plagiarism.

Let’s say you are creating a presentation on environmental issues and you find a stunning image of a melting glacier on the internet.

Without realising it, you save the image and use it in your presentation without giving proper attribution or checking if it is copyrighted.

Later, you find out that the image is copyrighted and you have infringed on the owner’s rights by using it without permission.

To avoid this, make sure to obtain permission from the original creator, use royalty-free images, or cite the source correctly.


Copying and sharing video content without the creator’s permission or acknowledgment can also be considered plagiarism.

For example, you are creating a promotional video for your company and you want to include a clip of a popular song that you think fits the mood of the video.

Without checking if you have the right to use the song, you include it in your video and upload it to your company’s website.

Later, you receive a copyright infringement notice and are forced to take down the video.

To avoid video plagiarism, obtain the necessary permissions, use videos under Creative Commons licenses, or properly attribute the source.


Unauthorised use or distribution of music, such as using a copyrighted song in a video or downloading music without proper licensing, constitutes plagiarism.

For example, you are a musician and you want to create a remix of a popular song.

Without obtaining permission from the original artist, you create the remix and upload it to your social media account.

Later, you receive a cease and desist letter from the artist’s legal team, citing copyright infringement.

To avoid infringing on music copyrights, obtain the appropriate licenses, use royalty-free music, or provide proper credit to the original artist.

In all cases, it is crucial to respect the intellectual property rights of the original creators.

By doing so, you maintain your integrity, contribute to a culture that values creative work, and avoid the ethical, legal, and professional consequences associated with plagiarism.

The Consequences of Plagiarism

Plagiarism can have a wide range of consequences, depending on the severity of the offense and the context in which it occurs.

Let’s explore some of these consequences:

Academic Consequences

In academic writing, plagiarism can lead to failing grades, loss of scholarships, and even expulsion.

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Academic institutions take plagiarism very seriously, as it undermines the integrity of the educational process.

Legal Consequences

Plagiarism can also result in legal consequences, particularly when copyrighted material is involved.

In such cases, the original author may file a lawsuit against the plagiarist for copyright infringement, which can lead to fines and even imprisonment.

Professional Consequences

In professional settings, plagiarism can damage one’s reputation and lead to job loss or difficulty finding employment.

In some industries, such as journalism and publishing, a history of plagiarism can be a career-ending mistake.

Ethical Consequences

Plagiarism is fundamentally dishonest, and it erodes trust between individuals and within communities.

By plagiarising, you undermine your own credibility and the integrity of the work you produce.

Why Should You Avoid Plagiarism?

avoid plagiarism

Avoiding plagiarism is important for several reasons:

Academic Integrity: Plagiarism goes against the basic principles of academic integrity, which values honesty and originality in all forms of work.

Academic institutions have strict policies against plagiarism, and if caught, it can lead to serious consequences such as failing a course or even expulsion from the institution.

Ethical Concerns: Plagiarism is also a matter of ethics and morality. It involves taking credit for someone else’s work and not giving them proper recognition or compensation.

Plagiarism violates the trust and respect that is expected in professional and academic settings.

Legal Consequences: Plagiarism can also lead to legal consequences.

Copyright laws protect intellectual property and unauthorised use of copyrighted material can lead to legal action, fines, and damage to one’s reputation.

Negative Impact on Personal Growth: Avoiding plagiarism is also crucial for personal growth and development. By creating original work, individuals develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Plagiarism deprives individuals of the opportunity to develop these skills and improve their abilities.

Moreover, creating work from original ideas allows individuals to express their own unique ideas and perspectives, and it also allows them to showcase their own strengths and abilities.

Quality of Work: Lastly, plagiarism reduces the quality of work. It shows a lack of effort and care and can result in lower grades or poor performance in the workplace.

Original work shows initiative, creativity, and a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

How to Avoid Plagiarism?

Now that we understand the consequences of plagiarism, let’s discuss some strategies for avoiding it:

Properly Cite Your Sources

Always give credit where it’s due.

When you use someone else’s work, ideas, or expressions, be sure to provide proper citations according to the required citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). This includes direct quotes, paraphrases, and summaries.

Paraphrase and Summarise

When you want to use information from a source, try to put it into your own words instead of copying and pasting.

Paraphrasing and summarising not only help you avoid plagiarism but also demonstrate your understanding of the material.

Develop Your Own Voice

Developing your own unique voice and perspective is essential for avoiding plagiarism.

Rather than relying on the words and ideas of others, focus on your own thoughts, experiences, and analysis. This will help make your work truly original and engaging.

Why Plagiarism is Increasing?

why plagiarism is increasing

Plagiarism is on the rise due to several factors, primarily stemming from the digital age and the ease of access to information.

Some of the key reasons for the increase in plagiarism include:

Easy access to information: The internet has made a wealth of information readily available at our fingertips.

With the ease of copy-pasting, individuals might be tempted to use someone else’s work without proper attribution, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Globalisation and competition: The increasing globalisation of education and the job market has created intense competition among students and professionals.

In an attempt to stand out, some individuals may resort to plagiarism as a shortcut to producing seemingly impressive work.

Lack of awareness: Many people may not be fully aware of what constitutes plagiarism or the ethical and legal implications of such actions. This lack of understanding can inadvertently lead to an increase in plagiarism.

Time constraints and pressure: The fast-paced nature of modern life often puts people under significant time constraints, making it difficult to produce original work.

In such situations, individuals might resort to plagiarism as a quick solution to meet deadlines or complete assignments.

Insufficient emphasis on originality: In some instances, there might not be enough emphasis on the importance of originality and creativity in education or professional settings. This can lead to individuals prioritising quantity over quality and resorting to plagiarism to produce more content quickly.

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To combat the rise of plagiarism, it is essential to promote awareness about the ethical, academic, and legal implications of using someone else’s work without permission or proper attribution.

Emphasising the importance of originality, creativity, and proper citation practices can also help reduce the prevalence of plagiarism in our digital age.

Common Misconceptions About Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a widely discussed topic in academic and professional circles, but there are still many misconceptions that persist.

Here are some common misconceptions about plagiarism and the truths behind them:

  • Plagiarism only occurs when you copy and paste verbatim: While direct copying is indeed a form of plagiarism, other forms, such as paraphrasing without citation, self-plagiarism, or using someone else’s ideas without acknowledgment, also constitute plagiarism.
  • Plagiarism is always intentional: While some individuals intentionally plagiarise, many cases result from a lack of understanding of proper citation practices or confusion about what constitutes plagiarism. It is crucial to educate oneself about correct citation methods and how to avoid unintentional plagiarism.
  • Citing a source incorrectly or incompletely is not plagiarism: Providing incomplete or inaccurate citations can mislead readers and create confusion about the original source of information. Accurate and complete citations are necessary to avoid plagiarism and give proper credit to the original author.
  • Using widely known facts or common phrases is plagiarism: General knowledge, common phrases, or clichés are not considered plagiarism, as they do not belong to a specific individual. However, it is still essential to provide citations for specific ideas, research findings, or quotations from a particular source.
  • Paraphrasing is always a safe way to avoid plagiarism: While paraphrasing can be a useful tool to convey information in your own words, it is still necessary to cite the original source. Failing to do so is considered paraphrasing plagiarism, which can carry similar consequences as other forms of plagiarism.
  • Using images, videos, or music without permission is not plagiarism: Plagiarism extends beyond written content and also applies to images, videos, and music. Using someone else’s visual or auditory creations without proper permission or attribution is considered a form of intellectual theft and can have similar consequences as plagiarising written work.

What’s Next?

The act of copying someone’s work without proper acknowledgment is called plagiarism, and it comes in many forms.

From verbatim copying to paraphrasing without citation, it not only undermines academic and professional integrity but also discredits the hard work and creativity of others.

By understanding the various types of plagiarism and the potential consequences, we can all strive to create a culture that values originality, honesty, and respect for the intellectual property of others.

To ensure a plagiarism-free content, consider using Bytescare plagiarism checker. Book a demo today and take a step towards maintaining the integrity of your work.


What is the difference between paraphrasing and plagiarism?

Paraphrasing involves putting someone else’s ideas into your own words, while plagiarism is using someone else’s work without proper citation. Properly paraphrased content should be cited, ensuring it does not constitute plagiarism.

Is it plagiarism if I didn’t know I was doing it?

Accidental plagiarism is still considered plagiarism, even if it was unintentional. It’s essential to learn and understand proper citation practices to avoid this type of plagiarism.

Can I plagiarise myself?

Yes, self-plagiarism occurs when you reuse your own work without proper citation. Always treat your previous work as you would any other source, and give it proper credit.

How can I check my work for plagiarism?

There are various online tools, such as Turnitin, Grammarly, and Copyscape, that can help you detect potential instances of plagiarism in your work. Additionally, always double-check your citations and ensure you’ve properly credited all sources.

Why is plagiarism considered unethical?

Plagiarism is considered unethical because it involves dishonesty and deceit. By passing off someone else’s work as your own, you undermine the trust and integrity of the academic and professional communities.

What to quote to prevent copying others’ work?

In order to prevent plagiarism, it is necessary to quote or cite any facts that are not of common knowledge