Punishment for plagiarism in Nigeria as prescribed by the law will be discussed here. This is by the Copyright Act.
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The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines plagiarism as literary theft or more simply put, it is the act of presenting as new and original an idea on a product derived from an existing source.
Plagiarism is the theft of intellectual property such as ideas and literary works without giving due credit to the author or authors.
Plagiarism is an offense; it is not just a “harmless” copy and paste as many people make it look.
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Many students in higher institutions plagiarize when they write term papers or take-homes by lifting texts from online materials they stumble upon on the internet, without referencing the authors.
Sadly, many lecturers do not have the luxury of time to read through all these submissions and so students are even ignorant of the offense they commit when they plagiarize.
The reasons why people plagiarize include laziness, a lack of self-confidence in their voice, and difficulty in smoothly amalgamating their ideas with those of the experts who are authorities in the field being researched.
All these accounts for and explain why many Nigerian students in their final year write research reports, (which is popularly called ‘project) and they are just snippets of other people’s thoughts, people who are mostly not acknowledged.
Although there are several computer software that is used as plagiarism checkers, many people still go headlong to steal other people’s works.
This may be perhaps because they are ignorant of the legal consequences of plagiarism, hence this article.
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Punishment for plagiarism in Nigeria
Here you have the Punishment for plagiarism in Nigeria:
- Under Nigeria’s Copyright Act (Section 20), if a person is convicted by the Federal High Court for the sale, possession, or distribution of copyrighted material for purposes of trade or business, he or she is liable to a fine of N 100 for every copy of the infringing work and/or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years.
- If a person is convicted for the unauthorized rental, lease, hire, or loan of copyrighted material to the public for commercial purposes, he or she is liable to a fine of N 100 for every copy dealt with and/or imprisonment for 6 months.
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It should be noted also that just because a piece of writing is posted on any of the social media platforms or not published in a book, it means that it can be copied without acknowledging the author(s). The author could sue you or take legal action against you.