Plagiarism has always been an unethical, despicable and generally frowned upon activity. Today, however, resorting to plagiarism is, in addition to that, a very, very unreasonable decision.
Before the entire world went digital noticing that a particular piece of writing was plagiarized was realistic, but in most cases unlikely. If you were caught red-handed it meant that you either did a really poor job of appropriating someone else’s work, or were extremely unlucky. Today, with most academic materials easily available in digital format, with vast cooperation networks between major educational institutions all over the world, with a plagiarism check being accessible even for a middle school teacher, it is just plain silly to steal someone’s work and hope it will go unnoticed. And taking into account the possible consequences, it is easier and less stressful to do your job on your own:
1. Damage to Student Reputation
Most schools, colleges and universities tend to treat plagiarism extremely seriously. In fact, it is one of the worst things a student can do, and often results in suspension or expulsion. It may go straight to academic record, preventing a student from being admitted to a college after school or to another college.
2. Damage to Academic Reputation
Plagiarism consequences may be even worse if you are a scientist or are willing to build an academic career in future. After you are once caught on plagiarism your entire career is likely to be ruined, for publishing is an extremely important part of this line of work, and after your name has been associated with theft (and plagiarism is theft, after all), you are very unlikely to ever clear it.
3. Damage to Professional Reputation
Plagiarism is a taint that follows you around wherever you go, especially if you are businessperson or public figure of any sort. It implies that your reputation as a specialist doesn’t mean anything, that you are ready to resort to deception in order to achieve your goals – and even if you manage to keep your current position you are likely to be treated with a considerable degree of suspicion from now on.
4. Legal Problems
Law doesn’t care if plagiarism is intentional or not. That’s why you have to learn how to avoid plagiarism on your own, especially if you belong to one of the writing professions, like journalists or authors. If plagiarism is discovered in your work and if the author of plagiarized work decides to sue you, it may even result in prison sentence.
5. Financial Consequences
In addition to prison sentence, the offended party may demand a monetary restitution, to be paid either by the plagiarist or his employer (or an educational institution that allowed the work to be published). No wonder they are so eager to eliminate plagiarism before it has a chance to surface! Even if the fine is paid by your employer, and you personally avoid it, chances are you will never find another job in this profession ever again.
All in all, plagiarism in today’s world is a cake that isn’t worth a candle. It is by far easier to write a work on your own than to pick up the pieces of your career for the rest of your life.