When is an article considered plagiarized?

So many websites offer confusing explanations as to what qualifies as a plagiarized content. What I know is, an article is plagiarizes if a portion was directly lifted from another article. However, I’ve read somewhere that an article is plagiarized if it contains five consecutive words of another article. How true is this?:x

It’s a subjective decision that will be made by the judge or jury when you’re sued. 5 words is enough if that’s a substantial enough portion of the original. You also don’t have to copy anything exactly to infringe copyright. The Associated Press sued the artist that created the blue/red HOPE drawing of Obama used in his campaign for basing it on one of their photos. A derivative work is infringement too.

When is an article considered plagiarized?

Just about when you start asking this question.

The people asking this question have already made the decision. They’re just fishing for an excuse to go ahead and do what they’ve already decided to do.

I don’t fully agree. If you are asking the question about whether the content you have copied qualifies as a plagiarized content then the answer is “yes it does” (as you said) BUT a lot of copied content that people don’t consider to be plagiarized content actually is so by the time you get to there being enough for the person to actually ask that question they are way past the boundary.

I don’t agree because my question is in light of the current practice now especially with PLR and spun articles which many believe are “supposed” to be unique articles in a sense that they don’t contain exactly the same words as the original article from where it was lifted.

As for “fishing for an excuse,” I am not looking for any lame excuse to copy but to shed enlightenment on this practice.

Spun articles are usually just garbage by the time that enough has changed for it to no longer be the original article. Whether or not it is plagiarized content depends on whether you own the rights to the content you started with. Anything you create by feeding someone else’s copyright work into one or the article spinner programs is a dervitive work and is therefore still plaigiarism no matter how much you change it since it is what you start from that defines plaigiarism, not what you end up with.

In the case of PLR using it as is isn’t plaigiarism if you have the right to use the article. It is simply a duplicate article. To change it so that it is no longer a duplicate article you’d need to change at least 20% of the content and preferably over 50%. Combining several PLR articles together is probably a good starting point.

Thanks! Now it makes more sense to me! :slight_smile:

I have never seen any percentages in copyright law. I’d sure like to see the link to them.

I always denote something as plagiarized at the point where you decide to take someone else’s work and make a derivative work from it (without permission or license to do so). For example, if you took an article (without permission) and remixed it, recycled it, took more than what would be considered fair use, didn’t properly attribute any small segments you cite or if you spun another article off based on it, that I consider plagiarized, even if the wording isn’t identical… it’s still taking a protected piece of work and reproducing it without license for your own gain. Not sure how many people would agree with me on this though :slight_smile:

Those percentages weren’t a reference to copyright at all. They are suggested percentages on how much of an article that you own the rights to that you need to change in order for it to no longer look like a duplicate of the original article - so as to give you two articles on the same subject - something useful where you have a PLR article that lots of other people also have where you want your version to not get flagged as a duplicate of everyone else’s.

The OP expanded on their original question about plaigiarism to ask about PLR and spun articles and those percentages were part of an answer to the question about PLR. There still are no hard and fast percentages but that figure is usually given as an indicator of the approximate magnitude of the changes required to a PLR article in order to create a new relatively unique article.

I beg to differ. If you change something, it is a derivative work. You, yourself, said “Your version”. If it is a version of someone else’s work, the work belongs to that someone else, not the plagiarist.

The way to write original, unplagiarized copy is to have an idea and research it, using your research to prove, disprove, or explain your idea. That is original content, provided of course, that you give credit where credit is due via a citation.

You are correct in that there are NO hard and fast percentages, there are also no soft and slow percentages. Plagiarism is plagiarism and suggesting to the OP that there is a work-around to it is very poor advice, indeed.

You say the figure is “usually given”. By whom? I’d like to see a specific instance of such advice by a credible source anywhere.

If it is a PLR article then you have full rights to the article - including being able to claim that you are the author even though you didn’t write any of it. Anyone else who purchased the Private Label Rights to the article has the same rights as well.

So if 100 copies of the PLR rights were sold then there could be 100 copies of an identical article on the web each identifying a different person as author and all being completely legitimate with each copy being owned by the person who posted it. There is no plaigiarism involved as each person has the full rights to publish the article as their own (thats what PLR means).

What you do have in that instance is multiple articles that are all duplicates of one another apart from the author’s name. That’s where creating a derivitive work in order to make changes so that your article is no longer a duplicate of the others comes in. Creating a derivitive work from a PLR article is one of the rights that the real author of the article gave you as part of the PLR and so it is perfectly legitimate and in fact sensible to do so in that instance.

Creating a derivitive work is only plagiarism when you don’t own the appropriate rights to the original article and with PLR you do have the rights to be able to create a derivitive work. Some PLR allows you to do anything between not changing anything to making as big a change as you like. The only limits I have seen placed on how much you are allowed to change PLR is some where the original author insists that the minimum change that you must make is to replace the author’s name so as to NOT credit them as the author. Some also specify a minimum percentage of the content that if changed will then give you full rights to the derivitive article without the limits that they impose on how you can use the original article.

You are certainly correct about PLR articles. Purchased copyrights and those in the public domain can’t be plagiarized. However, PLR articles were not part of the OP’s question. That question was

what qualifies as a plagiarized content. What I know is, an article is plagiarizes if a portion was directly lifted from another article. However, I’ve read somewhere that an article is plagiarized if it contains five consecutive words of another article. How true is this?

The correct answer is any portion directly lifted from another article is plagiarism unless the “lifter” has the appropriate permissions or has otherwised purchased all or a part of the original author’s copyright. There are no percentages, no word counts, and no other considerations for “lifting” the work of another.

But PLR was mentioned by the OP in their response in post 5 which was what my comments about PLR were in resaponse to.

In that case, my apologies, yet, the point remains that there are no word counts or percentages that define plagiarism.

As far as PLR articles, it’s my opinion that they are trash that begets more trash. Just another opportunity for wannabee writers and “entrepreneurs” (I use the word loosely) to trash the web, similar to the way the unimaginative, unscrupulous, and uncaring citizens of the Earth trash the entire planet.

One of the wonderful things about the Internet is that it has, so far for the most part, remained uncensored and unlegislated. My fear is that these few (who seem to be growing in number like bacteria) will spoil things for the rest of us. They certainly don’t need any tips on how to do it.

If a person’s concern is for the quality he publishes, that’s one thing. But, when it’s only a concern about what s/he can do to keep him or herself out of trouble, that’s another matter entirely.

i don’t really agree with the palgarized tool checker beacuse even when i check my content
written by me it shows data is duplicate.

Certainly it depends on the original creator, some people will sue you even for being inspired from their work:rolleyes:

Interes… no …wait …completely boring. There are, what now, a dozen carbon copies of this exact thread?

Talk about being plagiarized.

What could be interesting is the recent flap about Avatar’s script borrowing a bit heavily from other sources. This is within the context of Cameron’s Terminator mirroring Harlan Ellison’s Soldier and Demon With a Glass Hand.

Come to think of it, that Titanic story does seem familiar.


The 3rd Writer on ‘The Terminator’? Documentary

Is The Plot Of James Cameron’s Avatar Plagiarized?

Someone once threatened to sue Isaac Asimov because the title character in his story “The Ugly Little Boy” was similar to a character in a story that the woman threatening to sue had written and submitted to one of Asimov’s publishers. She claimed they had passed the story on to him and that he’d rewritten it.

Asimov’s response was to point out that the copy of “The Ugly Little Boy” she was referring to was a reprint and that it had first been published before she was born.