The act of stealing of money or tangible things is considered as a crime and can be easily identified. This act is known as Cheating or Fraud. But there are few other matters such as stealing information, words, illustrations, expressions, ideas, tables, thoughts, or figures from various books, articles, interviews are difficult to identify. Therefore, the act of using another individual’s work and then passing it as one’s own is known as Plagiarism.

As per law, whenever one uses sentences, words, ideas or phrases, summarize, or paraphrase other person’s work, it’s important to name the source of information in your work. And not citing, acknowledging or quoting the source in your work is considered plagiarism.

Plagiarism – Using someone else’s work into one’s own work, with or without their consent and then offering it as own without any acknowledgment whether it is intentional or unintentional.

Laws concerned with Plagiarism

Plagiarism is governed by Section 57 and Section 63 and Section 63 (a) of Copyright Act, 1957.

As per Section 57 of the Act, provide authors the right (special right)

  • to claim authorship of their work
  • to detain or claim damages in respect of any modification, distortion, mutilation, or other act related to the said work which is done before the expiration of the term of copyright if such act would be damaging to his honour or reputation

The Section 63 of the Act states punishment for the offence of breach of rights convened under this Act.

  • The offender shall be punishable with imprisonment. The term for the offence may vary from six months to three years. The lawbreaker may have to compensate in terms of money i.e. fine which may range from fifty thousand rupees to two lakh rupees. Or both imprisonment and fine.
  • Where the violation of the rights was not made for gain in the way of business or trade, the court may for special reasons (stated in the judgment) carry out a sentence of imprisonment of less than six months or fine of less than fifty thousand rupees.

The Section 63(a) of the Act states punishment for the offence of breach of rights convened under this Act for the second time.

  • The offender who commits the offence for the second time (again) will be punishable by imprisonment for the term that may vary from one year to three years and with fine varying from one lakh to two lakhs.
  • Where the violation of the rights for the second time was not made for gain in the way of business or trade, the court may for special reasons (stated in the judgment) carry out a sentence of imprisonment of less than one year or fine of less than one lakh rupees.

The act of Plagiarism is considered as an unethical conduct of a person and not a crime by itself. The breach of the right under the Act is civil wrongs and criminal charges can be filed against the offender. Although the government is trying to make the existing laws stricter to prevent plagiarism but one must morally try not to perform such an act.