Content creation is a labour of love. Good content is easy to produce, but there is a tremendous amount of discipline that is required to produce it. Content creation, in today’s day and age, is shaping the way we look at communication, education, entertainment, and marketing.
There is no doubt that there is a hunger for authentic and creative voices in every industry that depends on content creation. However, with information being as free-flowing as it is in today’s day and age, it is important that the information that is presented in the content is properly cited, so as to allow only authentic information to flow into the creator economy.
However, when the volume of information that can be accessed increases to such a level, it becomes easy to excuse the passing of information that does not belong to an entity as theirs. This, however, is not only ethically wrong but is also grounds for severe legal action against whoever engages in it.
The proper term for such an offense is called ‘plagiarism.
Decoding Plagiarism: What is it?
Plagiarism, while often defined as the ‘passing of another’s idea as their own’, is much more nuanced in how it manifests. While directly copying someone’s work and passing it off as your own, word for word is the most straightforward manifestation of this phenomenon, it can also manage to creep into intellectually honest spaces in other ways.
For example, it could be an instance where an idea is not copied but paraphrased using one’s own words. This, too, counts as an instance of plagiarism, if the information is not properly cited and attributed to its original owner. It is not just limited to writing down information either. Even if someone decides to expand on an idea that is not theirs to begin with, it is an instance of work that is someone else’s being passed off as their own by a third entity.
It is important that we look at plagiarism not only as intellectual theft but also as an infringement on the creative rights of the original producer of the content.
The Need for Original Content
Content that is proper in its attribution of information is much more reliable than that which does not. When information is properly attributed to its original owner, not only does it provide an additional reference for the user of the content, but it also provides an intellectual backbone to the piece as a whole.
By using attributed work to build on ideas, original content carves out a unique place in the creative world, that allows others to expand their knowledge and grow their understanding of their preferred topic from reliable and proper sources. Embracing original works not only grows the intellectual space but also provides professional growth to those who endeavor on a path of originality.
For those who might be confused…
There is a lot of confusion around the concept of plagiarism. Even the smallest ounce of borrowed information merits being cited, no matter how important it is to the piece that is written. If it is a wholly original piece, that does not require citations, it must meet the ethical standards of whichever platform is employed.
This could be an online content platform, an academic journal, or any form of print media like a magazine or newspaper. This merits a thorough explanation of the process that gave rise to the content and its ideas. This would usually lead to the creator realising that the content that is produced is, in fact, built on a specific idea, which will require that to be cited in the content that is put out.
How can you keep your content plagiarism free?
To make sure that the creative economy has an infallible flow of credible information, it is important that those who produce content familiarise themselves with proper citing etiquette, such as the various formats that exist with academic citation. Popular formats of citation are the MLA, Chicago, and Harvard styles, which are unique and informative in their own manner.
Furthermore, the current economy has a widespread presence of plagiarism tracking tools. Software such as Turnitin allows those who work with content creators to weed out problematic content, that is clearly borrowed from uncited sources, with ease, further strengthening the quality of originality of the work that is published.
However, organising your research is also key to fighting against plagiarism. This idea rests on the fact that plagiarism might not always be a malicious attack on intellectual integrity, but an oversight on a vast and complex research project.
Another concerning trend in the digital age has reared its head with the artificial intelligence boom. As AI becomes more proficient in retrieving and presenting data, the wit and creativity inherent to human beings gets diminished by a reasonably smart looking AI. However, it is also to be noted that there are tools in the market that fend from this too, making it that much easier for institutions to integrate originality first policies while using AI to generate content.
It is important that we understand how harmful plagiarism can be in a world driven by creative content. But by making sure that credit is given where it is due when we pass around knowledge, it is possible to foster a world that produces credible information. This can support future content creators in their endeavours, fostering a thriving and healthy creative economy that does not atrophy at the first sign of debate, questioning, or doubt.