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Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement are Different, Yet Similar

Plagiarism and copyright infringement are not the same thing. They are similar, in that they both focus on creative work originated by another. But plagiarism is an ethical violation while copyright infringement is a legal violation. Plagiarism is merely using what someone first thought of or created and claiming it as your own. In academia, the arts and journalism, and other pursuits where a reputation is the coin of the realm, being a plagiarist is extremely harmful and could be career-ending. Attributing the original source of the idea or work avoids plagiarism, and different professions have their own methods for acknowledging the true inspiration. Copyright infringement is making an unlawful copy of a work that the law protects. For example, using ideas, older works, and short snippets that are “fair use” may not be infringing, but without identifying the true origin, they are plagiarism. Attribution is also tricky; while it may cure plagiarism, it can prove infringement by admitting the work was taken from another. An acknowledgement and apology are the remedies in plagiarism; damages are remedies for infringement; halting the improper use is a remedy for either. A work that is plagiarized might also be infringed, and all remedies could be possible.