This is a guest post written by Robert Rogers at Robert Rogers Law Firm. If you would like to submit a guest post to the site, please contact me and let me know.
Count this as your warning. If you do not want to hear me appeal to your conscience, you may want to plug your ears for this first paragraph or two.
At its heart, plagiarism is a very personal offense.
Sure, it may not feel personal when you’re holed up in your office all alone, but there is a person at the other end of that World Wide Web. A person who slaved over a project or an article or medical research. It is no small thing to highjack their vision, their words, their ideas, and take the credit for yourself.
Ok. Rant over. Now let’s look at some of the hard and fast results that come from plagiarizing someone else’s work. With all of the software available today able to locate plagiarism, I can confidently say, it’s only a matter of time before a plagiarizer suffers one or many of these consequences.
Lives Are At Stake
If you are doing medical research, I cannot stress enough the serious implications of stealing research. Stealing researched medical information will negatively affect a host of people, patients, whose lives are directly impacted by said research.
Reputation Down the Tubes
If you are a professional who falls prey to plagiarism, and are caught, the first thing that will go is your reputation. Once you are found to have lied once, you will be suspected to lie always. You will not be respected or trusted.
Some individuals have discovered that it takes decades to regain this respect and trust, and that’s if they are ever restored.
You may see the error of your ways and do a 180°, but it’ll take those around you and/or those who follow your work, a whole lot longer to come around.
A big part of writing and creating, has its roots in networking. We simply cannot survive without all the other people. This list includes, but is definitely not limited to fellow writers, editors, videographers, bloggers, marketing representatives, publishers, and readers.
Once trust is lost, this community, be it local or nationwide, near or far, will no longer be part of your process. No one will want someone who robbed a fellow writer, standing on their shoulders to potentially do the same.
Your Days as a Student Are Through
If you are a student, who takes credit for someone else’s work, the bottom line is, you will most likely be expelled. Evading the hard work of research and writing, is not worth losing what lies in the balance during those essential years at a university. Forget all your plans. Good luck getting into another university, with that record.
Career Down the Tubes, Too
If you are in a field in which other people are in some way working with you or dependent on you in some way, which is essentially the definition of “profession”, you will lose your job, and probably the ability to function in that career in the future, as a result of plagiarism. Finding a job within your field, will be a headache, if not impossible.
Money, Money, Money
Plagiarism will be swiftly followed by fines, possible criminal charges, community service, and/or a civil case. Additionally, you will need to hire a lawyer to help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. I don’t think this point requires much elaboration. There are laws in place. While you may suppress the voice of reason as you copy and paste, these laws and procedures are for prosecuting those who plagiarize.
My desire is that each one of us would be a voice of reason, amidst this sea of scammers. That, as you read this, you will see the value of avoiding this dangerous game of plagiarism, possibly be pulled away from the its luring sway, and rally with me, to fight it.