The development of the Internet makes it easier to share knowledge. Now, an image, book or even music can easily be made accessible and pirated. Knowledge belongs to everyone. In this regard, some people question the usefulness of citing original works and authors. Why is plagiarism prohibited? What reasons do I have to respect copyright?
To attest to honest behaviour
The most immediate answer to the question “Why not plagiarise?” is: to comply with the law, as a responsible citizen. Plagiarism is a criminal offence under the Intellectual Property Code: plagiarism is strictly prohibited and punishable in order to encourage honest behaviour.
> Imagine that you’ve spent a year doing research, writing a book, finding a publisher, printing and promoting your work. How would you react if someone appropriated your work, without giving anything in return, and while taking all the credit? This is called theft and also plagiarism.
To promote original creations
Authors, musicians, artists… imagine the future, create beauty, call for reflection or share scientific studies. Thanks to their work and research, they improve everyday life, by agreeing to share their knowledge, discoveries and opinions. Copyright enables original productions to be valued and promoted so that the world can continue to evolve. It is therefore important not to plagiarise in order to encourage these “inventors” and thank them for their personal contributions. The creative person receives compensation and can therefore continue to innovate. Affixing their name to a creation allows the author to protect their work and receive the associated benefits.
Have you considered this? By making the choice not to plagiarise and to provide your own ideas, you yourself become an “inventor”, a “creative”.
To contribute to research
When copyright is respected, research can develop under proper conditions. Indeed, when the original authors and works are explicitly mentioned, it is easier to understand the origin of an idea, its evolution, the debates that fuel it, the contributions of each party… Like a building that is constructed by many craftsmen across several professions, to form a more complete whole. It is important to be able to trace everyone’s work, in the event that future questions arise, for example.
> By indicating the source for your observations, you take into account the work of your peers, while also bringing your own contribution to the building project. This allows you to supplement a quotation, challenge an idea, fuel a concept… in order to bring your own thoughts and your critical point of view.
To attest to quality
Choosing not to plagiarise also demonstrates the quality of your creation by proving that you have relied on reliable sources and authors. This instils trust in the reader. The reader will also be able to deepen their understanding by consulting the writings of the original authors that you’ve cited.
In this way, citing authors enhances your creation by showing that it is based on established and verifiable facts. Remember: each author attests to the truth of the facts and the originality of their ideas.
> By citing reliable sources, you attest that you have learned and incorporated research methods and citation standards, that you are serious and have integrity, and that your own research is of high quality. You demonstrate that you respect intellectual property and thus cultivate your reputation.
You will understand: plagiarism is prohibited not only because the infringement of copyrights greatly damages the offender but also harms all creatives and authors whose ideas are “plundered”. It is therefore essential to give credit to authors and their citations. As Paul Desalmand said, “A quotation without references is about as useful as a clock without hands.”