Ever since man created the concept of “mine” and “yours” originality and plagiarism has always been an issue. Plagiarism is defined as a close imitation or an exact copy of a piece of work or idea. Many creative geniuses have fallen into oblivion because someone of higher status stole their product or idea and claimed it as their own. Piracy, on the other hand, is the illegal distribution of materials. Evil? Very. But it happens.
When I was still in elementary school whenever I hear the term “piracy” I automatically thought of Captain Hook and crocodiles. Then came Pirates of the Caribbean, whenever the news says something about pirates/piracy the first thing that comes to my mind is Captain Jack Sparrow even though I know now what they really mean. Suddenly it became cool to be a pirate. But Captain Jack Sparrow and his Black Pearl has little, or nothing, to do with this topic.
by Fred Larksin
In today’s world, the wants and needs of people are starting to converge. Since the boom of the technological era technology has nearly become a necessity for most people. What was once a luxury has now almost become a need.
Almost all third world countries buy and sell pirated versions of branded bags and accessories, DVDs, game consoles, mobile phones, books, illegal music and movie downloads, and many more. Imagine buying a $13 DVD compared to its pirated version for only $1.50! There are even those that offer a 20 movies on 1 DVD. That’s just awesome sick! How do I know? *cough* I did my research!
When it comes to software piracy, many people believe in sharing knowledge rather than charging money for it. They believe that it should be free and help enhance people’s lives. Now if only someone were to invent a way to do that. Oh my, have you just thought of Open Source? Cool, we’re thinking of the same thing!
Open Source programs and software are great, however there are certain things that aren’t open source that people still need, so why don’t people buy software?
Here are some reasons:
- People think knowledge should be shared, not charged for.
- Not enough money to buy. As I have mentioned, necessities and luxury have converged.
- Someone uploads or distributes a copy without asking for anything in return. (This was debatable if it’s a case of piracy or not, since no money is involved. Debatable at least until the industry cried blood because the brains behind it can no longer pay their mortgages. )
- They are a pirate, and pirates don’t obey any code except for the pirate’s code! Yarr!
Artists and musicians only make a little bit of money from CD sales, that just helps them achieve fame. Let me tell you baby, the Renaissance era is long gone when people were content to simply receive acclaim for what they’ve done. Right now, what matters is cash; even Justin Bieber won’t be happy if 500,000 of his fans download his albums via torrent or pirated CDs, even though he may only make a penny for each album sold.
Gadgets and Accessories
Some countries have managed to copy almost everything. There are already knock off Apple products, Nokia phones, and even books! The fake Nokia chargers for sale only last a month or so and even have fabricated quality seals!
This will be brief and hurtful: only losers plagiarize. People who claim a work to be their own when it isn’t are either desperate, lack the skills, or are after fame and money the easy way. People only tend to plagiarize an item/object if it’s either very popular, or an excellent product.
Although some people plagiarize even if they have the skill, they still can’t compete with a critically acclaimed work. In this case they usually try to add slight changes, release it as their own, and use the fame of the original work until people find out and call them out on their shameful act.
In terms of graphics, since the boom of themes and logos in the blogging community many graphic designers have done nothing more than plagiarize the popular sites, quite often copying their logo or theme almost exactly.
Almost everything that has been written is being rewritten even as you read this. I’m pretty sure that this article itself has already been written in another language or in another way. The articles may be similar, but they’re not an exact copy of one another. In plagiarized written material, people either take the whole text or change some wording and then…you guessed it, claim it as their own.
Looking closely, defining plagiarism will inevitably tackle the gray areas. Since plagiarism is also defined as taking someone else’s idea or words let me give you a concrete example:
The famous Twilight saga: human girl falls in love with a vampire. There are also werewolves.
The Vampire Diaries: human girl falls in love with a vampire. There are also werewolves.
True Blood: human girl falls in love with a vampire. There are also werewolves.
Same ideas. Heard of someone sue each other? I’m not an expert here, so if there’s anyone who is knowledgeable about this matter please get your hands on the keyboard and start commenting. We sure would want to read your ideas here. Then we’ll plagiarize it. Kidding.
Another example is copying a blog post. Seriously, copy/paste! I’ve seen this with one of my articles here at 1WD copied by another blog word per word, the worst part is that they didn’t even give me or 1WD any credit. Sure makes me want to transform into a werewolf and bite that man’s head off. Kidding, just a bite.
Same story as the above, only concealed through codes.
Whether you are for or against piracy and plagiarism, the two will always be a part of people’s lives. No matter how strict and carefully guarded the networks are to avoid internet piracy, crafty people will always find ways to beat the system. There is a good thing in this, the more your work is pirated or plagiarized, the more popular it gets. Only world-class materials are pirated, those that are superior to their competition. Same goes for plagiarism. So the next time you see your work being plagiarized and pirated, be proud before calling the authorities.
Will piracy and plagiarism have an end? If not, where do you think it is headed?
Rean concurrently served as the Head of Operations and Editor-in-Chief of 1stwebdesigner from 2011 up until Aug 2014. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development with a little touch of internet marketing here and there.