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Avoiding Plagiarism Many people think of plagiarism as intentional cheating, and believe that someone must be intending to steal someone else's work and take credit for it as his own in order to be plagiarizing that material. However, the reality is that plagiarism is both more complex and simpler than that definition. Plagiarism is using someone else's work and representing it as one's own, but it is a more serious offense than simply copying from another person. Borrowing someone's words or ideas is permissible, as long as the person receives credit for creating those original concepts. Plagiarism goes beyond borrowing. It is trying to use someone else's work product as one's own. "In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward" (What is plagiarism?, n.d.). Therefore, there is an intent to defraud that occurs in plagiarism. However, that intent to defraud can be inferred from the circumstances of the writing, which is why it is possible for people to inadvertently plagiarize. Currently, there is a huge debate in American society about the sanctity of intellectual property and whether or not words or ideas can actually be stolen, or whether it is absurd to suggest the ownership of such intangible ideas. Right now, in the United States, "The expression of original ideas is considered intellectual property, and is protected by copyright laws, just like original inventions. Almost all forms of

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