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erromy

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Reply with quote  #1 
I am concerned about Copyscape's definition of plagiarism because when writing facts, or non-fiction, so much phrasing is commonplace.  For instance I can easily write, "The capital of Australia is Canberra".  That is a fact.  If someone else has written the same words previously, does it constitute plagiarism if I write the same fact?

Writing an article about a common product or service can only be said in so many ways.  A lot of articles repeat cliches.  It's possible to write something totally originally, and yet unknowingly repeat what someone else has said if there's not much else to say about a product or situation.  How many original ways are there to describe how to paint a ceiling for instance?  There are only so many tips about weeding a lawn.

Also, it's possible for several people to come up with a similar idea or interpretation of an idea without ever knowing what each other wrote.  Who gets to accuse who of plagiarism?

As a writer I find this very confusing and scary.
pruelpo

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Reply with quote  #2 
Me too is confused but you can write them in many ways "Canberra is the capital of Australia or Australia's capital is Canberra". Even though you wrote it as "The capital of Australia is Canberra" for me it is not plagiarism but a common knowledge. However, Copyscape does not accept a sentence of words. What Copyscape accepted is only the URL link of the article published.

Again I quoted some lines about plagiarism:

Stanford sees plagiarism as “use, without giving reasonable and appropriate credit to or acknowledging the author or source, of another person's original work, whether such work is made up of code, formulas, ideas, language, research, strategies, writing or other form”. 

Yale views plagiarism as “the use of another’s work, words, or ideas without attribution” which included “using a source’s language without quoting, using information from a source without attribution, and paraphrasing a source in a form that stays too close to the original”.

Princeton perceives plagiarism as the deliberate use of “someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source”. 

Oxford characterizes plagiarism as the use of “a writer's ideas or phraseology without giving due credit”.

 And Brown explains plagiarism to be “appropriating another person's ideas or words (spoken or written) without attributing those word or ideas to their true source”.
 

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erromy

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Reply with quote  #3 
But my point is that you can only write facts in so many ways. It's possible the examples you presented have also been previously published.  What about cliches?  What about describing "the sunny beaches of Acapulco"?  Or "the terrible tragedy of Hurricane Katrina"?  These are repeated by people over and over and no one would call that plagiarism?  But would a computer program like Copyscape?

At any rate, you have only joined this forum today.  I am really shocked (there's another cliche) that I posted this question on June 7, and you are the first person to reply to this very fundamental question.
pruelpo

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Reply with quote  #4 
If we will focus on CopyScape, our writing career will be disturbed. I experienced the power of CopyScape. I wrote an article - it was originally written by myself and it was published on one of the publishing sites I am connected with - what surprised me, when I shared the article to my blog site and submitted the URL link of the article to Copyscape, the site accused me as plagiarist for duplicating my own works! Now I realize that Copyscape is just one of the many online businesses - if you will register on their site and upgraded your account as a premium member - you will pay.
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copyscape

copyscape
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Reply with quote  #5 
We simply provide the tools to assist in identifying plagiarism by locating similar content elsewhere on the Internet. We ourselves are not any kind of authority to judge what has or has not been plagiarised, nor are we able to determine whose content was online first.

Our software is also not able to discern what actually is a case of plagiarism or just a few coincidental matching words that may essentially not in fact constitute plagiarism. It is up to the user to look through the results to decide which is which.
Spelsidorna

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Reply with quote  #6 
Great thread and a very interesting read, Thank you!
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spelsidorna

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