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According to Wikipedia, “Copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. Copyright does not protect ideas, only their expression or fixation.

According to common use, copy-paste is the simplest method of ‘stealing’ someone’s original work/expression of ideas. Unfortunately, this still is common practice among students in Romanian schools when they are requested to write a report/paper/article for one subject or the other. In recent years though, teachers all over Romania have been paying more and more attention to papers their students are handing in and the copy-paste practice is slowly but steadily losing ground.

People who feel they have something to say and want to share their feelings, ideas and/or opinions in writing – not only, but especially when publishing their writing – should be aware that:

- anyone can make use of quotations, provided they put the words/sentence/paragraph between quotation marks (“…”);

- the credits for the quotations should be given either before it (e.g. As X Y said in his article/novel, “…” ) or after it, in paranthesis (e.g. “…” (X Y, Title of article/novel));

- by copy-pasting as little as a sentence from someone else’s writing and not crediting that writer, the author signing the article gives any reader the impression that they have come up with all the ideas and/or opinions expressed there;

- by not crediting the real author, the person signing the article claims that all the ideas expressed there are their own, deprives the real author of their ownership of that idea and misleads the reader;

- copyright applies to anything that is an original creation, be it a piece of writing, a photo, a musical piece, an art piece,  or some lyrics; “copyright now covers a wide range of works, including maps, dramatic works, paintings, photographs, sound recordings, motion pictures and computer programs” says Wikipedia.

To avoid unpleasant situations such as the one mentioned in Adrian’s latest post at #13, everyone should know that:

- a responsible teacher should always check to what extent a student’s written work is original, especially when they recognise a certain sequence of words;

- forgetting to correctly mark quoted text and credit it is the most common excuse for not having done it and it wouldn’t stand as evidence in case the real author sued the absent-minded person who copied their words;

- anyone can copy a sequence of 5-7 words, put it between quotation marks on Google search and check if that expression is original or has previously been used by a different author;

- ideas can be (and are often) copied, but there are only two ways of doing it: either by quoting the original expression of the ideas and crediting the original author or by rephrasing/paraphrasing the ideas.


7 Responses to “Copyright or copy-paste?”

  1. Melania Paduraru says:

    Hi, Alex

    Thanks for your comment!

    The main issue here is not someone’s attitude towards their own writing and copyright, but the idea of NEVER copying anyone’s words and pasting them in one’s piece of writing as if those words and ideas were put together by the new author. The procedure is called PLAGIARISM and it is severely punished by the teachers and professors in highschools, colleges and universities all over the world (the student caught red-handed can be expelled!).

    My main reason for writing the post was to draw our students’ attention to plagiarism and the fact that such practice can have at least two unpleasant effects: the original author can sue the “thief” and ask for financial compensations, the teacher/professor discovering a case of plagiarism can punish the guilty student, etc.

    Thanks for visiting the blog! I’m waiting for your contribution to it, too!

  2. Alex Ivanof says:

    Here is a link to some interesting idea : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeTybKL1pM4&feature=related

    I personally feel free to post my work on the internet or on a public space. I think that the purpose of making a work/idea public is to share it to others. I am not concerned of someone copying my work and pretending it is his/her work because the people that do this don’t deserve any attention. On the other side, I take quoting as a sing of respect to the author. ( No offense to the discussion below. It is a personal problem and I don’t want to get involved )

  3. Adrian says:

    I thought that using your own words to express my regrets would be the only thing that you couldn’t be angry with because you had nothing to interpret. It was not sarcastic! It seems that the only way to really sort this out is to have a face-to-face discussion. I am looking forward to it.

    I am a Pisecs and as far as I know you are a Leo. The persons born under these zodiacal signs have very big egos and are native word-masters! My father was a Leo and some of my few friends are Leos and I can say that Leos have always been true challenges for me (and vice versa) because of the two things I pointed above. Please read the following phrases and don’t interpret them!
    I was the one who started this thing, or more precisely who tried to be the warrior for ”justice”. I am the one who went public with that issue, abusing you delicacy and good intentions of ending the story from the first moment, but I swear I was doing it for what I considered the right reasons. I am sorry for getting everything very personal! I am sorry for acting like such a child and interpreting your words every time the wrong way! I am sorry for being impolite and rude to you!

    I respect your decision! In fact, I am sure that if I had been you, I would have done the same!

    Adrian Niculescu

  4. Melania Paduraru says:

    Hahahaha… very subtle!!!
    You have been warned!


    P.S. Suggestion: why don’t you start your own blog and be the only one responsible for it? I promise I won’t ever read it, so you may use copy-pasting at will and forget to mention the sources…

  5. Adrian says:

    Yes, I was way over the line this time! I am sorry! My attitude and language were not appropriate when addressing a teacher, as you have NOT attacked and/or offended me in any way, and even if you had, I should not allow myself to make such derogatory comments mostly when addressing you!

  6. Melania Paduraru says:


    You keep missing the essence of what I’m saying about copyright and copy-pasting and you keep feeling insulted by my words because you deliberately misinterpret them and thus feed your anger! Otherwise, you would have noticed that I have never accused you of plagiarism! Since you chose to make this public, let me inform everyone that my initial words, when deleting that article of yours, were, and I quote: “N-AR FI RAU DACA N-AR AVEA SECVENTE COPIATE DIN DIVERSE SURSE… care secvente trebuie puse intre ghilimele si scrise cu Italics si, intr-o paranteza, indicata sursa…” – translates as “It wouldn’t be (a) bad (article) if it didn’t contain sequences which were copied from different sources… sequences which should be put between quotation marks and written in italics and have the source mentioned between brackets…”

    Please, feel free to correct my translation if you feel like it…

    In case you missed some of the meaning of what I wrote in my article, please, read it again. You’ll be surprised to discover that I did not say I could be sued because of you, you intelligently deduced it, thus admitting to my responsibility here. Unfortunately, you don’t seem to admit to my authority here, too…

    And let me point out a few more things to YOU:
    - this blog is MY STUDENTS’ BLOG, I only started it and I only pay the subscription to it! I haven’t written anything here for a long time, nor have I commented on the posts or comments! Being the only teacher behind this blog makes me responsible of what is posted here!
    - I did not address YOU in my article on “Copyright or copy-paste?”, I was trying to make things clear for everyone so as to avoid further “unpleasant situations such as the one mentioned in Adrian’s latest post at #13″!
    - you keep attacking the person who writes instead of commenting the ideas they express!
    - you are way over the line this time, young man! Your attitude and language are not appropriate when addressing a teacher! I have NOT attacked and/or offended you in any way, and even if I had, you should not allow yourself to make such derogatory comments mostly when addressing me! If, by any chance, you mistook my friendly way of communicating with you for an encouragement towards becoming disrespectful and contemptuous, just let me know that I misled you and I promise to put things right…

    Consider yourself warned publicly that, if you continue attacking people instead of discussing ideas and expressing opinions in the kindest and most tolerant way possible, your rights as an editor will be withdrawn!


  7. Adrian says:

    Comment censored by myself.

    Comment re-posted by Teach! You can’t get away with it so easily, Adrian… You made it public, be responsible!

    Consider this the most arrogant thing I ever said: I AM NOT THAT STUPID! You really insulted my intelligence there! If I wanted to that fragment “for myself”, I would have rephrased it, integrated it in the text…

    And no, copy-pasting stuff is not slowing down! You just think so, because you think that Google solves this matter. It’s not necessarily true! Not everything is there to find on Google. It’s quite easy to avoid that: don’t copy from the stuff from internet! There are so many other sources of information besides Internet. And so more reliable. If I had wanted to copy something without giving the credits to the actual author, you would have never caught me!

    You’re saying that you could have been sued because of me (it’s YOUR blog, as you keep telling me + I’m a minor)!? Don’t you think that is kind of cheesy?

    By the way, what is it with that title “Copyright or copy-paste?” ? Use your browser: go to “Edit” and then “Find” then type in “copyright” and see that you are the only one who used this word on this blog!

    Have a very good day!
    Adrian Niculescu

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