Though the subject matter of plagiarism and copyright infringement is the copying of the content and that too without the consent of the creator, however, they are not one and the same thing. Plagiarism involves stealing someone else’s original and unique creation and not giving proper credit to the originator.
On the contrary, Copyright infringement refers to the unauthorized duplication or stealing of another person’s unique and creative work, in a way, which is specifically prohibited by law.
Many individuals, organizations and business entities who create a unique and novel work, often apply for copyright protection so that they get the exclusive rights of using it, and they can earn from their hard work and efforts, as well as to avoid copyright infringement.
The article explains the difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism, in an easy way.
Content: Copyright Infringement Vs Plagiarism
|Basis for Comparison||Copyright Infringement||Plagiarism|
|Meaning||Copyright infringement is the unlawful duplication of work that violates the exclusive rights of the copyright owner.||Plagiarism implies the presentation of someone else's thoughts ideas or expression as your own, without providing attribution to the actual creator of the work.|
|What is it?||Unauthorized use of creative work which belongs to someone else.||Claiming or attempting to claim ownership on creative work of someone else.|
|Subject Matter||Copyright protected works.||All type of creative works.|
|Concerned with||Fixed expression of ideas||Ideas|
|Issue||Arises when material is used without permission.||Arises when material is used without providing credit.|
|Wrong||Civil wrong||Ethical wrong|
Definition of Copyright Infringement
Copyright Infringement refers to the unauthorized reproduction, distribution, display, performance, modification or use of works which are under the protection of copyright law, where permission is a must. It means to sell someone’s work or commercially exploit it without legal permission to do the same.
In finer terms, it implies the infringement of the rights conferred to the copyright owner relating to the exclusive use of the work for a stipulated period, by a third party. Licensing arrangements are available to the third parties to get permission for using the copyrighted work.
The copyright act gives the holder of the copyright, i.e. the creator of the work, a number of rights which can be used by him/her only. It covers the following subjects – literature, musical composition, artwork, audio-visual, paintings, architectural work, sound recordings, choreography, intellectual works, etc.
Exceptions of Copyright Infringement
As per the Copyright law, the idea or information concerning the work is not under protection, rather the way in which idea is expressed is protected. And so, when any person apart from the copyright holder copies the expression of work, it is considered as copyright infringement.
However, there are certain exceptions to this rule, even when the license is not obtained and rights are not assigned. These exceptions are:
- Fair use
- Public Domain
- Non-Copyrightable Works
Definition of Plagiarism
When the original work of any author is directly copied and manipulated in such a way that it looks new, without giving credit to the source when it is due, so as to deceive the reader and make them believe that the work is your own, it is called as Plagiarism. Here, the term work covers ideas, words, images, designs, music, etc.
Hence, if you are not giving attribution to the person who originally created the work, it means that you are presenting the idea as new and of your own, which is actually extracted from an existing source and so it is counted as Plagiarism. It can be intentional, reckless or accidental.
What is included in Plagiarism?
In the case of written work:
- Altering someone else’s creative work as yours.
- Copying the words or ideas from an already existing work, but not giving proper credit.
- Not applying quotation marks where required.
- Not providing the correct information about the source from where data is extracted.
- Copying the complete sentence, but changing some of the words, so that it appears new to the reader.
- Copying a number of words or sentences from a source, which constitutes the maximum portion of your work.
Key Differences Between Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism
The difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:
- Copyright Infringement is when copyrighted material is used without permission of the copyright holder, such that the exclusive rights of the holder is violated, then the wrongdoer is held liable for monetary compensation to the copyright holder. On the other hand, when any person steals and passes off another person’s ideas or words, and using them as their own without giving reference or credit to the source, it is called Plagiarism.
- Copyright infringement involves the unauthorized use of creative work which belongs to someone else. As against, plagiarism encompasses claiming or attempting to claim ownership of creative work of someone else.
- The subject matter of copyright infringement is Copyright protected works. Conversely, all type of creative works is covered under plagiarism.
- Copyright infringement has nothing to do with attribution it is more about permission, i.e. violation of copyright is said to have occurred even when the source, author or copyright holder is given reference. On the contrary, if proper citation is given, the work is not said to be plagiarised.
- While plagiarism is concerned with ideas, copyright infringement is concerned with the fixed expression of ideas.
- Copyright infringement is a legal wrong as someone can take or threaten to take legal action against the person copying the work. On the other hand, plagiarism is a moral or ethical offence, as the accusation of plagiarism need not result in litigation.
The prior difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism is that the originator of the work has the right to sue and take recourse of the remedies provided under DMCA, i.e. Digital Millennium Copyright Act if there is any copyright issue with the work, but this is not so with plagiarism.