Search Your Query Here

What is the Law on Plagiarism? Is it illegal?

Educational institutes (schools, colleges, universities) rules regarding plagiarism say that it is a serious academic offense, not a legal one.

This statement is correct only for students, but not for researchers, professional writers, and organizations/ brands. For them, plagiarism can a be legal issue, resulting in severe consequences.

So, it is important to get familiar with the different laws on Plagiarism, to avoid later regrets. In this article, we will be discussing different laws (that apply internationally) on plagiarism.

What is the Law on Plagiarism? Is it illegal?

Not only this, we will also provide a detailed answer on whether it is an illegal activity or not. So, let’s start things with the definition of plagiarism.

Definition of Plagiarism

Plagiarism is an act of copying or stealing another person’s work without giving proper credit. It is considered serious dishonesty.

This is so because when you plagiarize, this means you are attempting to pretend someone else work as your own.

There are different types of plagiarism, some of the major ones are as follows:
     Direct plagiarism
     Mosaic Plagiarism
     Source-based plagiarism
     Accidental or unintentional plagiarism

What is the Law on Plagiarism?

There is no doubt that educational institutions and professional entities around the world have the right to punish plagiarizers in different ways. These can be suspension, different kinds of penalties, etc.

However, they are also different laws available that can be used against the plagiarizers, those laws are as follows:

    1. Copyright Law

Copyright law is considered a type of intellectual property that protects the authorship of original work from being used by others.

Copyright law
There can be a lot of works included in copyright law such as photographs, paintings, software, music compositions, and many more.

Whenever someone creates work, such as taking a photograph, writing a piece of content, design, the person becomes the author/owner of that work.

And when another organization uses that created work without giving credit or original author, it will count as copyright infringement.

So, in simple words, copyright law protects the created work from being used by another person or company without permission or credit.

However, please remember, the protection of work that copyright law provides has a certain limit. This limit depends on when was the work created.

According to current law, work that was created on either or after 1st Jan 1978 will have copyright protection and will last for the entire life of the author and seventy (70) years after the author’s death.

    2. SOPA Law

SOPA stands for “Stop Online Piracy Act.” Basically, it was a bill that was proposed by United States parliamentarian “Lamar S Smith”.

The main purpose of this bill was to expand the authority's ability to fight against copyright infringement issues. The goal is to start a major crackdown against the websites or online platforms that are providing pirated content to users.

Stop Online Piracy Act
The SOPA bill has two main sections. The first section is for intellectual property rights owners who are seeking relief because their work was harmed by a pirated site or online platform.

While the second section describes different penalties for the people who are uploading, publishing, or streaming copyright-protected work through their site or a particular platform.

In order to explain this let us explain with an example. Let’s say a person has uploaded a copyright-protected movie or song on YouTube.

The copyright owners have the authority to send a crackdown notice to the YouTube team. The team will then review and verify the notice to remove that movie or song.

    3. PIPA Law

PIPA stands for “Personal Information Protection Act”. It is also a plagiarism law that provides enhanced enforcement against rogue sites operating from different parts of the world.

Personal Information Protection Act
This law also gives authority to the United States Department of Justice to seek a court order to crack down on sites that are involved in infringing activities.

The law states if a website is found dedicated to infringing activities, search engines like Google will be ordered to completely disable access to that site till further notice.

Apart from this, PIPA law is usually applied to private sector organizations like private educational institutes, non-profit organizations, businesses, etc. It is applied to ensure maximum protection of the personal information of people.

This law requires organizations/ institutions to create a policy form that meets the specific obligations under the act.

Now that, you have understood, what are different laws on plagiarism. It’s time to understand whether it is considered illegal or not.

Is Plagiarism Illegal?

The answer is YES! Plagiarism is an illegal activity. There are many reasons why it is considered illegal. Some of them are as follows:

Is Plagiarism Illegal?
Work theft: One of the major reasons why it is considered illegal is because it is an act of stealing another person’s work with permission or giving credit. This act will not only count as illegal but also unethical.

Act of fraud and deception: Plagiarism is an act of fraud and deception. Because when you plagiarize, this means you are trying another person’s work as your own. Doing this will count as an act of fraud.

Peer disrespect: When you plagiarize, your intention is to get credit for the work you did not create. Instead, you are trying to submit your peer's work as your own which is a disrespect for the peers.

Moreover, committing plagiarism can have severe consequences. For students, copying another student’s written text can result in low grades, damaged academic reputation, or even suspension from the educational institute.

For bloggers, publishing plagiarized content on search engines can result in low rankings. And for researchers and organizations, committing plagiarism can result in facing a lawsuit for the original author.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

To prevent the chances of plagiarism, you first know how you can ensure whether your written text is plagiarized or not. For this, you need to check plagiarism of the text with the help of online plagiarism check tools.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

These tools quickly scan the given text with millions of resources available online to find any traces of copied text. If any are found, these tools will highlight them along with the matched sources, so that the user can necessary ways to remove them.

You can consider adopting the following ways to eliminate the traces of plagiarism.

Paraphrase in your words: To efficiently eliminate plagiarism, you can consider paraphrasing the plagiarized part in your words. You can do this by replacing copied words with synonyms or rearranging the words to eliminate plagiarism.

Use quotes: Another useful way to prevent plagiarism is by using quoting the original source. This can be done by adding inverted commas both at the beginning and end of the text that is considered due to an online source.

Add citation: You can also eliminate plagiarism by citing the original source. Citing the source is a process of giving credit to the original author. This can be done by either adding a reference at the end of the source or mentioning the name of the original creator.


Plagiarism is both an academic and legal issue. And it is considered an illegal act all over the world. There are different laws also available to deal with plagiarizers.

In this article, we have discussed those laws in complete detail. We have discussed why different reasons why plagiarism is considered illegal. We hope you will like the information.