Poets on Instagram are taking a stand for creativity and the protection of intellectual property. Led by the Writers Universe, poets and writers from all over the globe are making it known that plagiarism is not acceptable.
Why is it happening?
Plagiarism is not a new phenomenon, and given the ease of access to new material, and the ease of reposting it, it is no surprise that it is happening on Instagram too. What is surprising however is how often plagiarism is occurring.
After discussing plagiarism with members of the community it became clear that many see the issue as a high priority for feature page owners. One community member described plagiarism as being “rampant” and shared that they had been affected by it on more than one occasion. It is so pervasive that our magazine even had a submission on Instagram that had been plagiarised from one of our staff members, who instantly recognised the piece. The worst part however was that the poet who had copied the work didn’t see what the problem was and refused to remove the post or correct his followers.
What is plagiarism exactly?
Simply put, plagiarism is copying someone else’s work exactly as it is written, or with little change to the original, without crediting the author. If you repost a poem without tagging the author it is plagiarism. If you cut off a signature or watermark and repost a poem without tagging the author it is plagiarism. If you rewrite a poem using your own background or application and post it without tagging the author it is plagiarism. Anytime you put your name to a work that you did not write, you are committing plagiarism.
Plagiarism also occurs when you use an image without crediting the creator. This is a wide-spread practice and is just as bad as plagiarising the words.
Basically, plagiarism is using something that someone else has created, without giving credit.
What is wrong with plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the theft of intellectual property and it is against the law. It is an unethical practice which does not give the original author recognition for their work and it fraudulently deceives those who are reading and featuring the work. In addition, plagiarism suggests that the author in question is of bad character as they are willing to lie in order to get likes and followers. It also casts doubt on every other piece of writing that they post, regardless of whether or not they were plagiarised. Plagiarism ignores the feeling of the author, and the hard work and effort that they put into creating the work.
Poetry, like many other forms of creative expression, can also be a vehicle for the poet’s personal experience. As one community member put it “I put so much of emotion and experience into my poetry. When someone copies it, they are stealing those emotions and those experiences from me”. When you look at plagiarism from this perspective it is easy to see why many feel that a moral line is being crossed and that plagiarism is an invasion of privacy as well.
What you can do?
Don’t copy other people’s work. This is different from taking inspiration from an amazing piece of writing. The minute you copy a line or lines verbatim (exactly as the original is written) then you are committing plagiarism. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
If you see a work that has been plagiarised report it to Instagram and, if it is on a feature account, report it to the page owner. You should also tell the author if you did not write it yourself.
Correctly attribute all images that you use, and if you don’t know who owns it, don’t use it. If someone else created them, they deserve to be credited. It is also plagiarism and copyright infringement to use an image without crediting the artist.
What is Her Heart’s position on plagiarism?
Plagiarism will not be tolerated and any submitter found to be fraudulently using the work of others will be blocked on Instagram and from all future submissions.
Her Heart is also committed to only posting works that correctly attribute images. We see this is a key issue in the community and encourage people to be careful about their attribution practices.
As always, please leave us a comment if you have anything to add? This is an important issue and one that is well worth debate and discussion.
Rayna Halloway ǀ @herheartshapedbox
Based in New Zealand, Rayna is an ever-optimist obsessed with all things poetry. She has aspirations of taking the spoken word world by storm, if only she could get over her stage fright!