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The Difference Between Rewriting Plagiarism and Ghostwriting

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How to define re-writing from ghostwriting and plagiarism

There is actually only a thin line between re-writing articles and plagiarism. The basic rule is that a re-writer reproduces content on factual subjects with the same keywords other writers have already written about. This is not plagiarism. In many cases you have no different alternative than using certain words and names to write about a certain topic.

A facts report is a facts report. Many writers accuse each other of plagiarism when somebody writes on the same subject and sometimes it really is hard to tell. When the subjects are for example cooking recipes, it might be hard to figure out the author plagiarisms another or not.

Keep in mind that any cook might add a touch of its own to a recipe, but still the main ingredients remain. And it is not because you wrote it, that the cooking time for the ingredients have changed. If you make too many changes, you might give false data and your writing might be worthless as informational content and you might not really make a great impression.

Another example on where you might find examples of re-writing is journalism. When an event occurs, it occurs and journalists are trained to report on that to the public. It is their job. But still the articles and titles on the subject might differ from paper to paper. This is because all media develop their own style. They might kind of re-write each other, but they will make sure they will never copy each other.

Journalists are well aware of what illegal copying the work of another might cause and they are professional enough to write their own articles.

Also are people never fully objective and the content on an article on the same subject might vary according to on which side a journalist reports. Also the source might differ and might not always be objective. Police investigators are also well aware that when you interview witnesses on the scene, after a tragic event happened, you might not get objective data. This might also be why not all news reports give the same information at once and might vary in speaking of amounts of casualties.

Television reports are also a reflection of this. If you for example watch CNN or Al Jazeera on matters in the Middle East, you may sometimes get a different view on the subjects. Both might try to remain neutral, but yet Al Jazeera clearly defends a different view than CNN.

Now copying each other is pure plagiarism. Yes, a writer might read articles of others to get information and inspiration to write his or her own. In a certain way we are all re-writers, since most of us that write informative content did get their information elsewhere.

It is the style and the way of explaining that makes a writer unique. And here is where plagiarism is not re-writing. A writer who plagiarisms, just copies the content another wrote, might make some changes and puts his or her name under it.

Is all double posted content online plagiarism? No, since some publishing sited like Bukisa do allow writers to republish content they had already online elsewhere. This is not plagiarism, since the writer is the owner of the work and just uses his or her right to republish his or her content to earn more from it.

As long as the writer owns the copyrights to an article and the site he publishes for does not restrict to publish work that he or she has published before and he or she did not sell the rights to it, there is no plagiarism, since all earnings will go to the copyright owner.

Anyone who uses content without a backing link to make the writer earn from it, but purely to make money without having copyrights, is a breaking the law. Yes, plagiarism is a violation of the copyright law. Putting a link to an article on your blog is no crime, but copy/pasting the content is.

But when you see articles written by a certain writer republished under a different name and this is not the same writer, there is a big chance you might be dealing with plagiarism, or sold work.

Keep in mind not all content might be stolen. Some writers are ghostwriters, meaning they write an article and sell it to another party to publish it, without having their name mentioned. This is also not illegal and does not mean the content is stolen, but the rights may be bought. In that case the writer might commit a crime, if he does republish this content under his own (pen) name.

From all things mentioned, re-writing is not illegal. In that case most journalist and cook book authors might be in jail. Unless you really copy sentences deliberately from others, you are not breaking the law in what you publish.

Also keep in mind not to publish articles you might have written and sold the rights to. This is also a form of plagiarism. Still this writer might re-write his sold article and publish, if it is clearly a different content on the same matter. Re-writing yourself is also not prohibited.

4 comments

lucia anna
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Posted on Feb 3, 2011
lucia anna
0
Posted on Dec 2, 2010
Erik Van Tongerloo
0
Posted on Apr 6, 2010
Dr. Johnson C Philip
0
Posted on Apr 5, 2010

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Martine Pauwels

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