Is Plagiarism Illegal? What You Should Know

We live in an age in which our school curriculums are increasingly moving toward online platforms. This is reflective of industries moving toward the future as well: students now might one day work in virtual reality startups, online payroll engineering or e-publishing.

And while the “do not plagiarize” speech from teachers is a tale as old as time, technological developments that make it easier to cheat are growing faster than we can keep up.

But it’s important that technological advancement doesn’t blur the lines of what’s legal and what’s not. So, here’s what students and adults alike should know.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of stealing another person’s ideas or work and presenting them as one’s own.

Plagiarism is still illegal

According to Legal Zoom, plagiarism is not a civil or criminal offense. However, it is still illegal to steal somebody else’s intellectual property rights.

Thus, another person can sue you if they believe you’ve profited off of their intellectual property. If this happens, you’d have to pay them what they’re owed, as well as your attorney fees. You could also owe major fines and potentially see jail time.

The moral of the story

Whether you’re in or out of school, plagiarism is never a good idea. Always be sure to credit your sources.