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14

Plagiarism: The act of plagiarizing: the copying of another person's ideas, text or other creative work, and presenting it as one's own, especially without permission. Technically, stealing an idea is plagiarism just as much as stealing their words. However, as another old adage goes, "There's nothing new under the sun." Everything you ever ...


11

I own quite a few cook books full of mouthwatering images that contain recipes that do not work. So as a father who has to create tasty meals for a bunch of otherwise grumpy kids, I can only beg you to: Collect recipes from whereever you want. Cook them yourself, and then publish the instructions as you have found them to work. Because that is what I ...


10

There is nothing new under the sun, my friend. If you read TV Tropes you might be forgiven for thinking that all plots are like all other plots. However it is not the plots (there are considered to be only seven or so actual plots anyway) but the characterisations, details, names etc that make your world unique to you. If you are worried that you have by ...


7

If they're on the Internet, someone has a copy of them. They are free now, and you will never have full control of them again. I won't swear to it, but I think when EL James got her book contract for the Fifty Shades trilogy, she deleted all the posted versions of those stories (which were after all Twilight fanfic). I seem to recall that older versions ...


7

I am not a lawyer. But it's my understanding that recipes, in their barest form, cannot be copyrighted, as they are a description of a method of accomplishing something. What IS copyrightable is the specific text that expresses those instructions, as well as any accompanying images, etc. There may be other aspects of the way the recipe is organized that is ...


6

Yes, it's certainly possible that posting on the internet could lead to someone stealing your ideas, here or on any other site. But will this actually happen? There are risks, however small, to showing your work to anyone. Most writers that publish know the benefits of peer feedback, and take the risk anyway. Many people have reaped benefits from posting ...


6

I haven't heard this five-word rule. But I can easily think of many sequences of five words that no one would seriously consider plagiarism. I think that I will was the first time that Britain, France, Germany, and Italy all men, women, and children March 1 of this year turn left at the traffic light (that's six!) five words ...


6

There are many software options available (see Wikipedia's page on plagiarism detection), some free, and some paid. To my knowledge, one of the most commonly used commercial options available is Turnitin; there is also Turnitin's student version, WriteCheck. Another commercial option is PlagScan. These options can be somewhat expensive though; PlagScan, ...


6

Elves and dwarves are all over fantasy fiction. Here's one compilation found by Googling "fantasy novels with elves". They are generic mythological creatures. If anything these tropes are overused; Tolkien used them well so his works are the benchmarks against which others are often measured, but he didn't invent them. The question in your title is a ...


6

If your work is visible to the public, you cannot prevent plagiarism. You could reduce the likelihood of plagiarism by posting your work on a site that is protected by a password (and perhaps a user agreement). But this also reduces availability. You can perhaps increase your chances of detecting plagiarism by setting up a Google alert for one or more ...


5

Consider that the theme in author A's book that is inspiring you was almost certainly found by author A in author B's work and inspired them, and so on. What's important is that you find a unique and original way to weave a story around that theme. For instance: Humble, unremarkable individual finds, quite by accident, some supremely important object ...


5

Allusion is a time-honoured writing technique. Copyright only protects the expression, not the idea itself, so as long as the expression is yours (you are saying things in your own words), you should be in the clear. Short quotes will generally be okay as well, under a "fair use" or similar policy, but should be properly attributed and sourced, if possible, ...


4

You need to have express permission from the author before you can translate a book into another language or adapt it into another format -- otherwise, you're liable for copyright infringement. Works that are in the public domain are exempt from this. The rules how a work passes into the public domain vary, but generally it's 70 years after the author's ...


4

Plagiarism is an ethical concept, not a legal one, so there is no universal accepted standard. The 'five-consecutive word' is a rule of thumb, not a legal precept. If you are writing for a particular forum, they may have anti-plagiarism guidelines. This is universally true for universities and other educational institutions, you should check your student ...


4

I'm hoping those weren't restaurant reviews! Also, IMHO, your phrase is a nod to Tolkien, a literary allusion. That is not plagiarism, any more than it would be plagiarism to say at the end of a review of a robotics show, "Next year, for sure, I'll be back."


4

Excellent question. The boundaries between different forms of derivative work are constantly being pushed and redefined. "Derivative" has come to be used mostly as an insult, but as you rightly point out, some works of fiction (I would argue 'most works') draw inspiration from preexisting sources. In a way, storytelling is an ongoing cultural endeavour. ...


4

Work with reputable proofreaders and designers, who have proven track records with satisfied clients. Anybody with a reputation to maintain will have no profit from plagiarizing clients' work. First of all, a manuscript on its own isn't worth a whole lot (it takes a lot of work to earn good money off a manuscript), and secondly, they'll stop getting ...


3

On my last university course the department insisted everything was submitted to a system called "TurnItIn" (http://turnitin.com/en_us/home) but there are loads of others. TurnItIn gave a load of different metrics for direct copies of other material, rephrasing and the like. Only problem I found was it often got confused with citations and references.


3

Take elements from multiple sources and combine them in a unique way. The reality is that none of us is entirely original; we all borrow (consciously or unconsciously) from others. French writer Georges Polti claimed in the 19th century that there were only 36 dramatic situations that could occur in a story or performance. More recently Christopher Booker ...


3

Legally, it depends. If you're asking in terms of legality, then it varies depending on many factors including country of publication, the nature of the original work and the new work, how old the original is, and where the original was first shared. In terms of "best practices," always provide what information you can. The original purpose of citation is ...


3

When reading a plagiarized research paper turned in by a student, the signs of plagiarism may not always be obvious. However, there are some things that professors can pay special attention to when suspecting plagiarism. Observe citations throughout the paper: This will help determine whether or not the required citation style was used. For example, if the ...


3

If we're genuinely talking just five consecutive words: yes, that could happen by chance. But plagiarism is not just about five words in the middle of a 120-page thesis. It's lifting ideas, plots, characters, paragraphs, pages. See the Opal Mehta mess for an example of what's really plagiarism.


3

If you're writing this as a pastiche - an original work which closely resembles some specific author's style - something that "they could have written", you're clean: style is not copyrightable. Of course this must be entirely original work, which may use similar construction - similar metaphors, same meter, the same stylistic tools but entirely original ...


3

If your book is dissimilar enough from Roth's that it does not remind readers of her series, there is no problem if you use the same name. Her's wasn't the first time that name has been used in fiction, either. If on the other hand you are writing a Young Adult dystopia where teens have to undergo life or death trials and fight the rulers, you might want to ...


3

Having a competitor with a poor web interface is not justification for plagiarism. However, it's clear that you understand this. To build your own library of recipes, seek used cookbooks that are so old that copyright no longer applies. Used book stores and thrift shops are a good source for this, as are online bidding sites like eBay. The challenge with ...


2

In reverse order: As far as plagiarism, it depends on what you're doing with your take-off. Is it mean to be performed in public? Are you trying to get a recording contract? Does the music of yours sound the same note-for-note as the original? Is the original copyrighted? Do the monetary rights belong to a composer? Then you're veering into copyright ...


2

Indeed, if someone was really "prosecuting" by a 5-consecutive-word rule, I think a would-be plagiarist could beat that by going through the text and substituting some pronouns and prepositions, rearranging word order here and there, etc, while still retaining the sense of the original. He'd have to be meticulous to make sure that he made at least one such ...


2

The best practice currently is to obtain current copyright holder's permission - a license to use the copyrighted motives; possibly, for a fee or percentage in expected royalties. This is not always viable or possible. In this case you may either change enough that it doesn't violate copyright (but becomes a different story entirely) or pick more guerrilla ...


2

Even when no-one steals my ideas, I don't want the bones of my book exhibited on the internet for all my readers and critics to pick over. I only post ideas and excerpts in closed forums with a small number of members that I personally know. If I hand out text for feedback, I have the recipients sign a non-disclosure agreement. Also I give paper copies ...


2

I constantly read books and watch movies that are totally unlike anything that I have ever read or seen before. There is an unlimited wealth of stories that have never been told. If your story is like "all other" alien invasion stories, then that is because you have seen or read those other stories, learned their underlying schema, and now have applied it ...



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