Plagiarism is the use of the ideas and words of another passed off as one's own. Issues here include similarity of work, theme, and characters. Plagiarism is not always a crime, but in academia and industry it is seen as a serious ethical offence. Cases of plagiarism can also constitute copyright ...

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How do we draw the line between plagiarism and allusion?

It’s no secret that in literature we see characters that remind us of other characters. Furthermore, it’s no secret we see plots that remind us of other plots. For example, an author reads Book A and ...
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Is it plagiarism to adapt a known figure into a fictional charcter?

What if I decide to write a story with a character based off a historical figure but under a different name? For example: (1) I write a story with a hero named Tom, who is a political figure. (2) ...
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71 views

Can I use names of characters and groups that other authors/creators have used already?

After I began writing my series, I decided to type some of the names into Google. I found that the name of one my characters (Trent Steele) was used in an episode of The Simpsons. I also found that a ...
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MLA: How to cite academic summaries

When writing long academic summaries, like 2 or more pages long, how should we acknowledge the sources in MLA format? Should it be as in the example below? Original Buffy, a small, delicate-looking ...
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MLA: Avoiding Unintentional Plagiarism in Essay Writing

I have a couple of questions about how to correctly cite sources in order to avoid unintentional plagiarism. First, let me give you an example of a paragraph I was reading the other day as part of a ...
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How to secure my writing work from getting stolen or copying before publishing?

I'm a newbie in the field of writing. After writing a book, I need to visit number of publishers for publishing it. So, how to secure my writing work from getting stolen or copying before publishing? ...
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How do I keep from plagiarizing others?

I would like to start writing blog articles online as a guest writer. Most blogs have guidelines that have to be loosely followed; like what the niche should be, if it needs to be a list, and a bunch ...
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How to deal with cryptomnesia (falsely recalling generating a thought or idea)? [duplicate]

Paul McCartney, upon composing the melody for "Yesterday", felt certain that it was too good to be original, and that he must have heard it before and just couldn't remember it: McCartney composed ...
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Should I worry that my storyline is very similar to another?

I've written a story about anthropomorphic animals in a noirish setting solving murders. I came up with the concept and wrote the first draft about a year ago and am planning on releasing it soon. ...
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Is it plagiarism to use something from a nonfiction work and put it into fiction?

I was reading about this Japanese dance style written by a man who taught it. He said that the style was uniquely Japanese and few outsiders could really dance in the style properly. He said that he ...
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Is translating to other language plagiarism?

I'm currently writing my Masters thesis in English. If I take some (small) German text snippets from some papers (I'm German-speaking) and just translate it to English, would this be plagiarism? ...
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When does satire (parody) become plaigiarism?

Stephen Fry wrote a novel called The Stars’ Tennis Balls, and claimed that only afterwards did he realize he’d rewritten The Count of Monte Cristo. Fry’s novel is set in modern-day England; Dumas’s ...
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What is the best way to avoid plagiarism when importing information from a source?

I have been a habitual writer since my childhood but recently planned to move on to the next level and use my skills professionally. From last 7-8 months I am trying for small internships (paid /non ...
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How to assemble recipes without plagiarism?

How does one collect and compile recipes for publication in an ethical way? Some cohorts want me to help build a website of culinary recipes, and their plan for content is to rely entirely (initially ...
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105 views

I want to name a character something but j feel like people would say I'm copying Veronica Roth, my favorite author. What should I do?

I have a problem. I want to name a character (the main character's romantic interest) Tobias, but I feel like people would associate him with Tobias Eaton from Divergent, knowing how much I love that ...
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191 views

How much can I copy before it is considered plagiarism? [duplicate]

How many words may I copy from someone's work before I have to begin paraphrasing it?
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103 views

Do I have to pay royalties when I use research information?

I'm in the process of writing my very first book and I'd like to use the internet for research information. However, I don't want to do anything wrong. I realize I need to list the source of my info ...
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296 views

Unofficial Fan Fictions - How can I Secure Them?

For a long time now, I have been writing fan fictions based off of the storyline of a board game. I have posted these fan fictions on a website dedicated to the same board game. I am not the only ...
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304 views

Using species from another novel, in my novel, copyright infringment?

I would like to start a novel, but it would include Fantasy species such as Dwarves and Elves, etc. I got this idea after reading several of Tolkien's novels. If I write this novel it would have ...
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158 views

How can I trust that the proofreader and designer of a book will not plagiarize our work?

My friend and I are writing a book in English in the Electrical Engineering field. At this stage, we need someone to proofread our texts and also to design the layout of the book, so we will need to ...
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How much is considered plagiarism?

I'm aware that some fictional work is loosely based on others, consciously or not. For instance, Lord of the Rings has some common elements with the Saga of Nibelung from the old Norse traditions. ...
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118 views

Is it plagiarism if you use the same, or similar expression with different meanings or contexts?

Some years ago, I wrote "alternative lyrics to the song, "Laura." It basically diverged from the original except for the third and fourth lines: (Original lyrics) A laugh, that floats on a summer ...
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Are there any “quantitative” (computer) programs that measure plagiarism?

An example might be the following: "Romeo, wherefore art thou Romo?" from the classic Shakespeare play. Suppose I changed it slightly to "Roberto, why are you Roberto?" Is there a computer program ...
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How much copying is okay?

I have an idea for a story, but I realize that many of the idea's elements are similar to another story out there. (The attire of the main character, fighting style and structure of some social groups,...
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I'm afraid of [accidental] plagiarism

I've recently written a screenplay about an alien invasion. A friend immediately commented that he found similarities (some general ideas, plot devices) with Half-Life 2: Ep 2, which I haven't even ...
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577 views

What is the best way to use your favorite authors as inspiration without plagiarism?

I am a big fan of certain authors' writing styles and stories and I am convinced that when I sit down to start writing my first book, I'm bound to copy an idea or theme from an author. How do I create ...
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How similar is too similar?

I have used the phrase: "There are not enough words in the tongues of men, elves, dwarves, trolls, goblins, or beasts to describe how disgusting..." in a couple of reviews of mine, which someone ...
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Problems with posting work on the web for feedback

Participating in writing-related sites (like this one, and critique sites) sometimes involves describing a plot problem or sharing an excerpt from my work. So I'm usually vague because of the fear ...
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Is it required to cite the original author, when the original author is unknown and in a foreign language and adapted by an oral narrator?

Here's the scenario. Person A may read a story in a non-English language. As time passes, he still remembers the story and passes it onto his offspring. His children ask him about the author, but the ...
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115 views

Best practice for stories based on other writers' stories

I want to rewrite someone else's novel in a different way. Just to show the other side of his characters. My story will be based on these characters, but they will have more "realistic" sides. What ...
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803 views

What is the smallest amount of text that can be plagiarized?

Can the following be considered plagiarized? I am interested in finding out the limit of words one is allowed to use. Java is a programming platform that's used for developing computer ...
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622 views

How likely is the “five consecutive word rule” to detect “random,” as opposed to intentional plagiarism?

I refer to the old fable that if you set enough monkeys at enough keyboards for a long enough period of time, they will (through random typing), reproduce the "Complete Works of Shakespeare," or any ...
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How is parallel construction viewed in literature?

I wrote a "take-off" on a French song using a technique that I believe is called "parallel construction." http://french.stackexchange.com/questions/6041/can-rustique-be-used-as-a-form-of-self-...
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What exactly is the “five (consecutive) word” plagiarism rule?

My understanding is that the toughest standard regarding plagiarism is the "five (consecutive) word" rule, which holds that, if there are five consecutive words identical to someone else's writing, ...
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How do I determine if a paper has been plagiarized?

Is there a service which allows you to check if a paper/article was plagiarized? At this moment, I use Google to check if some papers are plagiarized or not, but I think that are other smarter ...
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plagiarism vs. reference?

I just finished reading the annotated edition of Lolita, and Nabokov hid references to other works of literature everywhere. Lately I've also been considering ways to work in lyrics and other oblique ...
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142 views

Translation as the starting point of a new work of fiction

In the past, there has been famous cases of translations becoming works on their own. Many dramatic plots were copied from country to country (Elisabethan dramatists used to translate spanish plays ...
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Would it be plagiarism if you use a changed scene?

If I read someone else's scene that describes a situation in my own work if adapted to fit my characters and plot, would it constitute plagiarism if I so use it?