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December 28, 2009

I see plagiarism often, and I’m not even an English professor! Copy writing is an art. However, it is not difficult to learn.  Not all companies are fortunate to have a professional copywriter on-staff, and there are hardly any options for training. Frequently, this leads to the selection of a random, overstressed, employee who has little to zero experience in copy writing or who has poor grammatical abilities.  Many times sections or entire documents are copied and pasted onto websites, brochures and fliers without reference to the appropriate author. Is this acceptable?

I’m always curious to check the  quality of a company’s copy. Especially, if  I want to subscribe to their Rss feed or newsletter.  But before, I clog up my inbox further, I google a portion of the text to see if it came from another site.  I am sure to  place quotations around the text for the search engines to pick up the exact phrase.

The results can be disheartening when I see two or three references with the exact text. Sometimes, I notice that the website, from which I found the text, does not even show up.  If the website link is not displayed and others are, it is indicative of new information on that website. It has yet to be picked up by the search engine. Google gives options by which you can sort. You can look at the dates to see the original.   Sure SEO can help make it appear faster, but the actual date of the publication’s creation is displayed–not the date the search engined picked it up.

Plagiarism is not something that we learn in school and simply brush off upon graduation. It still applies to the workplace and affects credibility. It is not acceptable to steal work without giving reference to the author.  There are massive amounts of information on how not to plagiarize.  There are also reputation management systems that will help determine if your work is being stolen. Perhaps, I have too high of standards or maybe to be politically correct,  a donkey stuck in my own world.  Am I the only person that takes offense to this?

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