Unlawful Copying: An Easy Solution of a Serious Concern

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Offline Badshah Mamun

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Unlawful Copying: An Easy Solution of a Serious Concern
« on: April 08, 2014, 01:36:14 PM »
Unlawful Copying: An Easy Solution of a Serious Concern

The widespread use of internet has opened up the opportunity of getting information within a click. It however, also instincts the student and academia in copying works of others without recognition of the original contributions. It is often observed that even PhD thesis is fully copied and higher degree is obtained. This is not only violation of moral right; it ultimately results in growing unethical habit among the students and academia. Students and academia are losing their creativity. This phenomenon has becoming acute across the world including Bangladesh. The current article is therefore, intended to highlight this issue and provided a simple solution with an ultimate objective of protecting copyright and moral rights of authors in Bangladesh and developing an ethical practice in writing academic papers.

What is Copyright?
The copyright is the rights of the creators for artistic works in the field of book, music, paintings, sculptures, films and computer programs and electronics data-bases. Copyright is automatic and universal, thus applies all over the world. The authors enjoy both moral and economic rights. The economic right is limited by time, while the moral right goes for ever and allows the authors to claim authorship of the work (known as right of paternity). Moral rights prevent any distortion or modification of the work, or other derogatory action in relation to the work, (often termed as the right of integrity).

Copyright Protection in Bangladesh
Copyright in Bangladesh is protected by the Copyright Act, 2000. However, enforcement of copyright under the current administrative and judicial systems is still an enormous challenge, often appears to be a nightmare. The basic argument for poor enforcement is that the government has many other priority works that need urgent attention. Others opined that strict enforcement of copyright would increase the cost of foreign books and software which would hinder higher education and deter the objective of developing a digital Bangladesh.

In reality, unscrupulous businessmen are abusing the opportunity for commercial interests while our local authors, film producers, publishers, software developers, musicians and performers are sufferings miserably and depriving from getting returns of their heartfelt efforts and investment.

Unlawful Copying or Plagiarism
This article intends to raise one important aspect of unlawful copying which is generally known as plagiarism. Due to weak enforcement of copyright, devious students, academia and writers are taking advantages and copying indiscriminately without considering the ethical and legal aspects. The issue is so severe that it now appears normal. The ethical and moral values are completely ignored. Unless we look into this seriously, no one would be willing to nurture his intellectual skill and the country would be deprived in getting new ideas and intellectual creation.

Plagiarism: Basic Concept
Plagiarism is nothing but copying another author's language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions without citing the original author’s name. The most common form of plagiarism involves appropriating a published article and modifying it slightly to avoid suspicion. Often, someone copies from many different sources and attempts to publicize it as his/her work. This is undoubtedly an intellectual crime, academic dishonesty and breach of journalistic ethics.

The concept of plagiarism in the field of academic world and journalism were observed over the centuries, but the development of the Internet makes the works much easier. Most of the articles are now available electronically which are convenient of copying. This has been expanding plagiarism at a much faster pace than happened ever before.

Copyright and Plagiarism
Plagiarism leads to an unfair competition or violates the moral rights of authors. It thus constitutes infringement of copyright. However, plagiarism is not the same as copyright infringement. While both terms may apply to a particular act, they are different concepts, and false claims of authorship may constitute plagiarism regardless of whether the material is protected by copyright.

Concerns of Plagiarism
Indiscriminate plagiarism among the students, teachers and researchers will gradually make the country meritless and discourage nurturing creative skills.

Plagiarism has already become a serious problem in Bangladesh. Students, consultants, journalists and even the teachers are frequently submitting their assignments simply by copying others’ works. No disciplinary actions are taken against these fraudulence practices. This is inspiring others in doing the same practice. Teachers and institutions are often helpless despite knowing the offense, because they do not have the technique of proving the plagiarism.

Meritorious students, who put sincere efforts, are demoralized due to plagiarism by his co-students. They are often deprived in getting better scores while a student committing plagiarism is rewarded.

Consultants, academicians and students are often gaining commercially from plagiarism. They are frequently publishing and submitting articles, books and assignments only by copying from websites. Often these do not even fit within the context.

Preventing Plagiarism in Developed Countries
Plagiarism is treated as a serious crime in the developed academic world. These are subject to academic censure; that may even result in expulsion and termination of students and teachers by the internal disciplinary committee. In journalism, reporters committed plagiarism generally face disciplinary measures ranging from suspension to termination of employment.

Technique of Checking Plagiarism
A number of plagiarisms detecting software are available in the websites. After receiving the document electronically, the examiner or institutional authority may choose any of the ‘plagiarism checker’ software and check the document. The software will then provide the full report including the source links. Anyone having basic computer knowledge may visit http://www.plagscan.com/seesources/search.php and check this document. After opening up this web page, one may click ‘check text’, uploaded the file and finally click "Start Analysis", the system will instantly generate the result. He or she may find other better software in the internet.

Preventing Plagiarism in Bangladesh: A Simple Solution
Academic institutions and publishers can easily prevent plagiarism if they intend to do so. The appointment letter/admission or contract form must include a provision of preventing from plagiarism. If anyone is found guilty, he or she will be subject to academic or institutional disciplines. Thus the situation can be addressed within the existing institutional framework.

Bangladesh is progressing fast both economically and socially. The country need more intellectual to advance further. This is only possible through nurturing intellectual capacity. Moreover, we cannot afford continuing any unethical practice such as plagiarism in the academic world. We therefore, request all academic institutions and research organizations in establishing a culture of checking plagiarism and declare themselves as ‘plagiarism free’ institutions.

Commercial Counsellor
Bangladesh High Commission
London, United Kingdom
« Last Edit: April 08, 2014, 01:39:40 PM by Badshah Mamun »
Md. Abdullah-Al-Mamun (Badshah)
Assistant Director, Daffodil International University