Plagiarism is something that is widely performed by students around the world. It is simple to carry out, and is quite helpful to those that don’t get caught doing it. Many people tend to get higher grades and are commended by their classmates for not being apprehended.
That made plagiarism sound really good didn’t it? Tempting? Amazing? Getting a better grade with no effort and no consequences? Well, the truth about it is much uglier than you’d think.
We never hear about a student being the subject of plagiarism. The closest they ever get is a copied lab report or a homework assignment that was a little too close to someone else’s work. When they take something from a website or hit a simple button combination on their computer, it doesn’t affect them negatively. The whole point of it is to make their life easier. They never think that the author will know, that it’s just a school paper and it won’t be a big deal to them. They won’t find out.
Being a writer online is something that not a lot of teenagers do. Sometimes I feel like the writer geek, or the one that people always go to to help them with their papers. To me, this is fine. I love writing and more opportunities to write and help people is something I would never complain about. But I put a lot of time into my writing, I’m always coming up with new ideas for articles or new ways to reinvent my writing. I put hours into my work on top of school, theatre, and dance. So when I put a piece of writing out there, I’ve worked hard on it and am proud of it.
As I scroll through the worldwide web, reading random articles as I usually do, I see something odd. It’s my article, but on some site I had never heard of before. My article wasn’t something you could take the title of and make something completely different, either. It was my own unique work, and it was quite specific as well. The point is, nobody would ever think of this idea and do it the exact same way I did. But somehow, someway, this person did. I doubted it, maybe I wasn’t as unique with my article ideas as it seemed. But as soon as I clicked the link and the article loaded, I knew. I had been plagiarized. My work, something I spent hours on, on top of homework, dance, theatre, and everything else in between, taken. Like they always say, “Copy and paste!” without a second thought. And the worst part of it was, not only was it published on this website, it was promoted. My work, who someone else put their name on, got more recognition on their copy-paste article than I had on my hard-earned writing.
At first, I felt down and upset. Then I was angry. This was a professional publication, and they didn’t check for plagiarism? They didn’t make sure their writers were honest? And most of all, why did any writer, who should know what it feels like to have work stolen, ever think this was okay? But what I wasn’t going to have left unanswered was this: Why did they think they were going to get away with this?
I contacted the “writer” of the article with niceties and manners. They quickly realized what was going on and who I was, and then came the excuses. That it was just a coincidence, that they loved my work, and most of all that they were sorry if I had interpreted their article to be similar to mine. Like it was somehow my fault that they took my work. Through an overextended argument and a LOT of phone calls, the article was taken down. The “writer” blocked me in an attempt to save their own name, and everything seemed to be resolved. But I was still left with an aching feeling in my heart.
People will always tell you that the only reason you got plagiarized is because people like the work you published so much that they want it for themselves. For some reason this logic is supposed to make you feel better? It doesn’t.
Plagiarism is something that is widely performed by students around the world. That’s what every student, teacher, person says. I don’t think so. Plagiarism is not just another tool used to get a better grade than the next kid. In society, we don’t condone stealing– after all, it’s against the law. Plagiarism is stealing the written word, and it’s worth much, much more than taking that cute skirt from Forever 21 home for free. To be plagiarized is to have your very soul of writing, your style, taken and used to garner attention for somebody else’s fake image.
Photo: ejlindstrom via Pixabay