Consequences of plagiarism in USA universities

By and large, the consequences of plagiarism in USA universities are severe. Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own without giving them credit. This happens mostly to students who love “copy and paste.”  Before using a published or unpublished material, whether in the form of scripts, prints, or electronic, you should get the author’s consent. While this may prove futile because the process is tedious and time-consuming, you can be safe by giving credit for their work.  In the US, copyright law treats a plagiarist as a fraud. The Sheldon v Metro-Goldwyn Corp., F.2d59,56(2d Cir.1936) explains that no plagiarist can defend themselves by showing off how much they had written that did not pirate.

For instance, if 90% of your work is original content, and 10% is plagiarized, the law does not show mercy that you only plagiarized 10%. You will be penalized for piracy, and this, at times, can even attract a jail term. In simple terms, plagiarism is a crime.  Many students think plagiarism is not a crime because they rarely get sued by the author. If this happens, then the copyright and plagiarism laws will apply accordingly.

Penalties for plagiarism if committed in USA universities

Universities and Colleges in the US are keen on copyright issues. Although the author of the plagiarized material may not sue you, the university will surely punish you. Every higher learning institution in the US uses plagiarism checkers that scan your writing to determine if they are original. If the software determines that you copied some ideas or statements from an external source, you can either be;

  1. Expelled from the institution.
  2. Face a disciplinary action such as sponsorship termination and in-school suspension.
  3. Failing the entire course.
  4. Grade penalties.

Quick fact: Did you know that Martin Luther King, Jr was sued for plagiarism during his school years. This was after Boston University determined he had plagiarized 33% of a chapter when writing a doctoral thesis. This nearly cost him his career after the university almost considered revoking his doctorate.

Plagiarism mostly occurs when a writer copies and pastes an author’s work from their publication.  This happens when the quote is not cited or in parenthesis. The citation or parenthesis shows that the ideas presented are not yours but are borrowed from an external source. Also, plagiarism may occur when you fail to paraphrase the content in your own words. For instance, if an author wrote “Education is the key to success,” and you write, “Education is the key because it makes you succeed. Chances are that “education is the key” will be plagiarized because these words originally appeared on that author’s text.

Ways to avoid plagiarism

  1. Use the “five consecutive word” rule. This is a plagiarism rule that implies that you should not use five words in a row used in another author’s writing. This is easy to execute because all you need is to search for the words you have written on the internet. If they have been used elsewhere in another author’s work, then avoid it like the plague. Let say you want to write, “Plagiarism is punishable by law.” You should consider searching these words to ascertain if they were used the same way in another author’s work. If so, then you can paraphrase these words; It is risky to plagiarize any publication. The reason is that this is a crime that attracts harsh penalties in court. After paraphrasing like this, it is unlikely that this will be plagiarized.
  2. Always use direct quotes or avoid quoting at all. Double quotation marks show the reader that the quoted words are borrowed ideas. To avoid quoting, paraphrasing every single word used by another writer. This helps you avoid creating a replica of what the author wrote in their publication.
  3. Ensure that you cite all your work. Citations are mandatory in writing. The reason is that they give credit to the writer when consent is not granted.
Others include:
  1. Please do not copy and paste anything on the internet, books, journals, etc. They make your work plagiarized.
  2. Insert footnotes to provide citation information. Footnotes are notes written at the bottom page. They show all the citations, copyright permissions, background information, and outside sources. This ensures that your work is cleared from piracy because all the information will be credited to the author accordingly.
  3. Always use a plagiarism checker before submitting your work. Sometimes, you may accidentally plagiarize because everyone uses the same words, the same way, and each day. Therefore, plagiarism operates under a thin line that, at times, is inevitable. Therefore, ensure your work is safe by scanning it through a plagiarism checker.

Rules about plagiarism: The Do’s and the Dont’s

  1. Paraphrasing without citation is plagiarism.
  2. Always cite the correct citation using the correct format to avoid presenting someone’s work as yours. Use the correct MLA, APA, Harvard, and Chicago style of formatting to avoid making this mistake.
  3. Quote every word retrieved from an external source.
  4. Please submit your paper to a plagiarism checker to ensure it is clean.
  5. Do not use patchwork plagiarism because this too is academic fraud.

The effects of academic fraud 

  1. When students plagiarize their work, it degrades the quality of education. In the long run, learning institutions release students who are not creative. Therefore, the quality of their performance is poor because of their inability to think critically. With this, a college degree degrades in value.
  2. Plagiarism affects the economy of the US significantly. The reason is that graduands graduate with inadequate solving problem skills that can improve commercial exchange. In the private sector, critical thinking is a key concept of offering immediate solutions. When students plagiarize, they limit their minds from exploring the impossible. This makes it hard for them to be game-changers in their competence.
  3. Copyright breaches can also attract lawsuits that defile reputation. If a student is expelled or denied grades, their reputation is destroyed among their peers and before society at large. If the matter is presented before the law, the student will be equally treated as a criminal and is liable for every decision made. With this, they may lose hope of continuing with their education for fear of being mocked or treated suspiciously.
  4. Some institutions are so strict that they can bar students from joining another university/college after expulsion. This may significantly affect the individual’s career path because their profile will be marked by the allegation of plagiarism. In cases where the school is lenient enough, the student can only face the institution’s disciplinary action.

Why do students plagiarize their work?

  1. To gain excellent grades – Getting grades without execution skills is useless. Therefore, stay away from piracy.
  2. Ignorance of the dynamics of plagiarism – We believe that you have gained some important information about piracy by reading this article. Plagiarism should not be an option to excel.
  3. The belief that it will go undetected – Many universities use the best plagiarism checkers. They scan each word, comparing it with billion books, websites articles, etc. thus, it will detect any plagiarized work.
  4. Time- Everyone is busy these days. However, by setting your priorities right, you can write the best articles as per your instructor’s description to get good grades.
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