Plagiarism is defined as the act of presenting someone else's work or ideas as your own or copying part of someone's work and incorporating it into your own work. The act of plagiarism isn't just limited to text, music, or ideas - computer code can also be plagiarized.
Given how easily source code can be found in online code libraries and elsewhere, computer programming plagiarism has become a major concern for educational institutions and is one of the most common forms of academic misconduct.
Schools and colleges tend to look upon all forms of plagiarism - whether it is copying text or computer programming code - as very serious and are inclined to take strict disciplinary action against anyone found responsible for plagiarism. They often use plagiarism detection software tools to check assignments and identify copied work.
Plagiarism may not always be intentional - an instructor or plagiarism detection tool could flag your original work as plagiarized if it is similar to another source code or has sections that are identical to someone else's work. In cases of accidental plagiarism, a strong defense can help you get the charges against you dropped entirely. However, schools don't always believe students readily, and having a strong advisor by your side is crucial to attaining a positive outcome.
If you are accused of plagiarism and are at a loss about what to do, it helps to hire an experienced attorney-advisor who can guide you through the disciplinary process and help you get the charges against you dropped. Joseph D. Lento is a skilled attorney-advisor with significant experience and expertise in student defense. He has helped thousands of students deal with disciplinary action and saved them from damaging consequences.
Why Do Schools Take Plagiarism So Seriously?
Plagiarism is among the most common incidents of academic misconduct that occurs in schools and colleges. It can be intentional - a few lines of copied code - or unintentional - where your original work ends up similar to another program code.
Students of computer science are given programming assignments to help them learn and practice their coding skills. Copying part or all of an assignment from a different source is counterproductive and hampers the learning process since the student is simply copying, instead of applying their own knowledge to work on assignments. Additionally, since computer code is intellectual property and is protected by copyright and trademark laws, plagiarizing it is illegal and might have serious consequences outside of school or college.
This is among the reasons why educational institutions consider plagiarism as academic misconduct and take strong disciplinary action against students found responsible for it. Disciplinary action can range from a mild to severe reprimand, a fine or a failing grade, and more serious punishments such as suspension or expulsion. Getting caught and disciplined for plagiarism can have a profoundly negative impact on a student's career and cause problems while applying for employment or other study programs. The consequences can be severe and far-reaching.
Computer Programming Plagiarism and Codequiry
Code plagiarism is a very common and prevalent issue in schools and colleges. Students of computer science or related fields often take shortcuts and reproduce all or part of a code written by someone else and pass it off as their own work.
Plagiarism can come in various forms and can include direct plagiarism (copy-and-paste work), accidental plagiarism, self-plagiarism, or hired plagiarism.
The most basic form of plagiarism includes copying and pasting code from a different source into your own assignment. This may include global/all-over plagiarism, where an entire program or code is plagiarized, or mosaic plagiarism, where content from different sources is combined, often in conjunction with the original author's own work.
Accidental plagiarism can occur when a student forgets to properly cite their sources or accidentally write something that is too similar to someone else's work. Accidental plagiarism can also occur when a student turns in the wrong assignment or forgets to edit or delete copied and pasted sections of code or text.
It is possible to plagiarize yourself. If an assignment you have turned in borrows heavily from your previous work or has fragments of text or code in common with a different assignment you may have written, it still counts as plagiarism and is not permitted in schools and colleges.
Hiring someone to complete an assignment for you also constitutes plagiarism. In most schools and colleges, hiring or asking someone to help you with an assignment, and write part or all of it, is not acceptable and is considered plagiarism. Similarly, if you borrow or steal someone else's assignment and turn it in as your own, that constitutes plagiarism as well.
What is Codequiry?
Codequiry is an advanced plagiarism detection software tool that identifies copied or unoriginal code and highlights similarities, if present, by comparing the code submitted with billions of sources from across the internet or with other submitted code samples.
It compares code submissions ‘internally' - against other submitted code samples, as well as ‘externally' - against programs or code from across the internet.
How Does Codequiry Detect Programming Plagiarism?
Codequiry is designed to look beyond the appearance of the code and check for similarities in logic patterns and styles of coding. This makes it a much more rigorous plagiarism checker than other tools that simply check for identical fragments of code.
Even if you alter variables, add or delete whitespace or function names, and add comments to copied code, Codequiry is likely to pick up on similarities and flag your code as plagiarized. It is among the best plagiarism checkers available.
The Consequences of Computer Programming Plagiarism
If Codequiry or another software tool identifies plagiarism in your work, your course instructor could file a formal complaint against you. Once an official complaint is filed, the Student's Conduct Code determines the disciplinary procedure that will be initiated against you.
This is usually what happens (although every school or college has different policies):
- You are notified of the complaint.
- An investigation is conducted, where the school disciplinary board or committee will look into the case, asking you and your instructor questions, and examining the evidence. This investigation will determine whether there is a case against you.
- Once the committee decides that a case can be made against you, the next step is to conduct a formal hearing,where you will have the chance to defend yourself and provide evidence in your favor.
- After the hearing is completed and deliberations have been made, the committee rules on your misconduct and punishment. They may independently decide upon the punishment or make a recommendation to the dean.
- After the final verdict, you will have the chance to appeal the ruling. Different schools may have different rules on how appeals are conducted and whether a second hearing is required. After the second hearing, the verdict is usually final and not open to further appeal.
What Action Can My School Take If I Am Accused of Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is taken very seriously, and depending upon the circumstances around your transgression or on past actions,your school may hand out a penalty that ranges from mild to severe. Mild punishments or sanctions can include a formal reprimand, a fine, or academic or extracurricular restrictions. Medium to severe punishments may range from probation to suspension to expulsion.
Plagiarism detection tools are not foolproof and can misidentify original work as plagiarism. Instructors and professors may also mistakenly or maliciously implicate a student for plagiarism even if they are not at fault.
If you find yourself accused of plagiarism, the best course of action is to avoid panicking and consult an attorney-advisor immediately.
Will This Impact My Career or Future?
The consequences of plagiarism can mar your record permanently and have a massive impact on your future. Being disciplined for academic misconduct is something you might have to disclose to future employers or while applying to a graduate or postgraduate study program.
Getting suspended, even for a few days, can significantly hurt your career and academic record because it creates a gap in your transcript which will need to be explained whenever you apply for employment or higher education. You may be asked if you have a history of disciplinary issues when you apply for an internship, a job or a fellowship, or admission to another school or college. An accusation of plagiarism can act as a huge black mark against you and hurt your chances of getting admission. Declining to disclose the nature of the charges against you might also result in your application getting rejected.
If you ever find yourself in the position of being accused of plagiarism, the best thing to do is to involve an attorney-advisor at an early stage. An expert can help you put together a defense and get your charges dismissed or reduced, particularly in cases where you have been wrongfully accused.
Mr. Lento specializes in student defense and has acted as attorney-advisor to thousands of students in different states, facing charges of academic misconduct, including plagiarism. His expertise can serve you far better than a local attorney who may not be as well versed with school and college misconduct policies and can minimize the damage to your career.
Is Plagiarism A Crime?
Although plagiarism is illegal, it is very rare for criminal action to be initiated against someone accused of plagiarism, unless there are other crimes involved. It is typically not considered a criminal offense.
Schools and colleges usually conduct their own disciplinary processes when it comes to plagiarism and do not constitute legal or criminal proceedings.
However, if someone believes they have suffered a loss due to your plagiarism of their work, they may file a civil lawsuit against you.
Should I Hire An Attorney If I Am Accused Of Plagiarism?
It can be very difficult to face the potential consequences of academic misconduct on one's own. Your parents or other family members may not be of much help either since they are not likely to understand the nuances of the Student Code of Conduct or the rules and policies of your school or college.
An attorney-advisor (an attorney who acts in an advisory capacity) could help guide you through the process and make sure you get the best possible resolution, especially if you think you are being wrongfully suspected of plagiarism. School or college disciplinary committees typically do not allow legal representation for students, but you are allowed to have an attorney-advisor.
Hiring a professional, particularly an attorney-advisor well versed in student defense, is the best thing to do, rather than facing the situation alone. Something like this could have a negative impact on your entire career, particularly if you are expelled or suspended, and having professional legal representation is the right thing to do.
Hire A Qualified Attorney-Advisor Today
Joseph D. Lento is a nationally recognized legal professional and has significant experience serving as attorney-advisor to students in matters related to school issues, including academic misconduct. He understands how plagiarism detection tools work and how they can be misused against students who may not have plagiarized intentionally.
If your school authorities believe you have plagiarized work and have initiated action against you, it is best to involve an attorney-advisor rather than trying to face the consequences alone. It is a question of your or your child's future.
Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today to hire an experienced attorney-advisor.