Plagiarism in the Technological Era

AKA, the single reason that I’m scared to write on a blog.

It’s a well known word, but it’s become more of an empty shell now. Everything about it has become far too overused. Sure, it’s the easiest way out of a minor high school essay or project, but there’s a whole other side to it – one we’re completely aware of – that we choose to push into the dark. Even for those minor school projects, it’s not plagiarism. The word itself still too harsh for physical use, for it to actually roll off your tongue – it feels dirty. Plagiarism is a bad thing, in every way, shape and form. You don’t need to be told that at the start of the school year, you can figure out by yourself that no one wants their work to be stolen. It might be a big thing to those who do it, or not, most times it isn’t, but for the creators of the original content – whether that be writers, researchers, journalists, screenwriters, historians, bloggers – this is a word that induces deadly fear.

“To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.”
― Steven Wright
There is only one terror that can take over your mind after all the researching, laborious  first drafts, edits, painful bouts of  writer’s block, and maybe or maybe not finding a publisher. This is a fear that cannot be subdued by caffeine, sleep, inspiration blogs. Here, calling to you at all times of the day, is a perfectly logical voice, with very frightening things to say. “How can you be sure no one is going to steal your work?”

After everything I went through? Oh, the thought is terrifying.

I don’t like to think about it at all, but i suppose that for someone who has never shared their original work – or is just beginning to – the fear is much more of a theoretic one.

Knowing that there is a chance that your wok could be stolen invokes plenty of fear, and fear stops you from doing the things you want to more than anything else. It’s the biggest ocean to get through, the highest hurdle to jump. Spending hours writing and adding, painstaking editing, but when it comes down to that SUBMIT button all the insecurities pour out of you and paralyse your fingers.

Plagiarism isn’t limited to just the written word either. Art plagiarism also exists, and is just as real, and terrible, and frightening.

And we have to keep in mind, we no longer belong to a world of small circles, information you have to walk, or talk to people to get. Today we are super connected, with telephone polls everywhere, 3G and 4G internet speeds, email, forums, free wifi at every everything.

It has become so much easier to find information, and in the mess of all this information, it’s just as easy to steal it.

The thing about the internet is how artificial it makes interactions feel, and it’s not that they feel glazed over, made of plastic and distant, but how impersonal it feels. You see a profile picture and a comment and can’t connect it to a real person. So, when you see a profile picture and article, a city all the way from the other side of the world, it doesn’t feel the same way it does ripping a manuscript from the hands of an unsuspecting writer right in front of you. It has become oh so easy to steal from others, far too easy.

I will upload my first well-written, finished fiction, or reportage piece, then spend the whole night after worrying that someone will take it as their own. This is painful to accept. I probably don’t deserve to feel even all of it – what are the chances i’ve never take someone’s work without proper credit before? We will always want the easiest way out of things, whether we like to admit it or not. The fact of the matter is no one wants their work to be taken from them, the question now is how to stop it. And if we can’t stop it, then how do artists get over the fear of it? Original work is a whole different region – there are no teachers to read over student papers or programs to run manuscripts, art pieces, cookbooks before they are let out to the public. I mean, big corporations steal Tweets from normal, everyday people and it goes totally unnoticed. Who looks for a copied line from this year’s song of summer? No one.

This fear torments me even now, but still, i will continue to post things on my little blog. My short stories and rants that work their way into investigations of humans and their obsessions. It’s a leap to take, you think, trusting that no one will touch your work in particular. I’m not taking that leap though. Then why go on publishing your work?

A short answer – because my passion is stronger than my fear.
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