Internet has eased into our lives and simply refuses to leave. No matter what we do, completing a task without using the web seems impossible. From booking tickets to ordering grocery to predicting disasters, the world wide web has become a part and parcel of our lives. But as the advantages grow, so do the disadvantages. A major, fiercely budding drawback is plagiarism, with no signs of slowing down.
It isn’t as if the internet encouraged plagiarism; it existed long before that. But the growth of World Wide Web certainly made it easier to flourish. It has become all the more effortless to copy and paste valuable content from sites. Another significant issue on the rise is the act of stealing copyrighted material. While plagiarism in itself is not a crime, it may constitute copyright infringement. Let us delve deeper into the subject in order to shed some light upon the matter.
You might ask what a copyright is. A copyright is simply the legal right to reproduce, sell or publish an artistic or creative piece of work by a person or an organisation exclusively. Apart from them no one else has the right to use or change the work except those authorised to, with prior permission. A person cannot use, misuse or copy any information without it constituting a criminal offence. In the present times, we find numerous examples of such misconduct on websites. Company logos, taglines and website content are some of the common material prone to theft.
Great minds have agreed that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but on another plane, imagine yourself working hard on a project. You labor day and night, strain your body and mind, push past your limits- only to find that your work has been stealthily duplicated by someone else! All it requires is a few minor changes and the black cunning of an imitator. This is exactly where a copyright steps in, it saves you from the horror of getting duped.
What such copyists generally forget is that while it may harm one party, plagiarism on the web can now crash their search engine rankings as well. Content scraping benefits neither of the two parties. Google Panda, which has seen various updates since its launch, has worked quite efficiently to put a stop to this problem.
The origin of the copyright law takes us back to 17th century London. The market saw a huge surge in literary works, thanks to the introduction of the printing press. The Parliament was forced to step in and put a halt to the duplication of original works. Incidentally, the symbol © came into existence much later, in the mid 20th century. It stands as a shortened form of ‘copyright’ and was introduced so as not to tarnish works of art. It has been legally carried forward since then and is widely in use today. The inscription ‘all rights reserved’ is to emphasise that the owner reserves all the rights provided by the copyright law. Established in the Buenos Aires Convention of 1910, the phrase became obsolete in the year 2000 when Nicaragua signed the treaty, but continues to be in popular usage in recent times. Also, it is common practice to include the year when the product first became available to the public.
If a party resorts to this sharp practice in spite of a copyright, a legal battle ensues. What brings relief is that all rights of the creator are protected. Despite these laws, many unfavourable developments have been cited recently. The best way to work past this problem is to copyright whatever goes up on your website and be aware of content scrapers.
Take care and continue blogging!