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     Plagiarism is defined in the Encyclopedia Britannica Online as “the act of taking the writings of another person and passing them off as one's own”. In my own words I define it as the stealing of someone else’s literary work and taking credit for their writings. Sometimes it is done intentionally as an act of complete dishonesty. Someone may not want to exert the necessary effort required to research and write his or her own work. They assume it would be easier to just copy another author’s work. Another example of deliberate plagiarism is the buying or selling of papers, or hiring someone to write a paper. Most frequently, plagiarism occurs without the writer knowing that he or she is plagiarizing. Simply quoting an author without stating where the quote was taken from and citing the name of author is plagiarizing. If someone uses an authors style of writing and/ or word usage throughout his/her paper that is also considered plagiarism. Whether done intentionally or in error, plagiarism is a crime that can warrant serious penalties
     Plagiarism is a severe problem because it has since become an epidemic and is being practiced at an alarmingly increasing rate. It has become widely accepted among students at many colleges and universities across the United States. It has gotten to the point that many students don’t even consider it cheating. This fact alone makes it even more serious and harder to control. It is now common practice to obtain someone else’s writing and turn it in as an original work. It is not difficult to purchase a pre-written paper or hire another individual to write a paper. Students are willing to pay whatever the cost so that they don’t have to do the work themselves. In fact, paper-selling services such as this have become quite a lucrative business. With the age of technology quickly advancing it has become all the more easily to plagiarize.
The impact of the Internet on the plagiarism has been huge. You can find hundreds of websites that, for a fee, will offer papers on every topic imaginable. There are also websites that promise custom made papers written based on the requested criteria. The ease and availability offered through such sites has tempted even the most honest students. With the stress and pressure that the pursuit higher education can bring it is often a welcome release to have a ready-made paper at the stroke of key.

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The result has been a devastating compromise of academic integrity. The restoration of academic honesty is vital to the preservation of pure creativity and a desire to learn.
The most effective way of reducing plagiarism is to instruct researchers and writers to utilize tools to track sources log research and writing activities, organize their work, and submit work with proper citations. It all boils down to being meticulous about the accuracy of any work that bares one’s name. Much of unintentional plagiarism can be avoided by simple education and making writers aware of often overlooked errors. On the other hand, overt plagiarism is a much more serious problem. In order to avoid intentional plagiarism additional regulations and penalties should be enforced. There should also be laws that enable the tracking and shutting down of plagiarism websites. If access to these sites were limited then there would be a drastic decrease in the amount of plagiarism
To say that plagiarism is the “theft of intellectual property” is an accurate assessment. Whether it is deliberate or inadvertent it is still a form of stealing what does not belong to you. Not giving an author the credit he or she is due or purchasing a pre-written paper from the Internet is still a crime. As with all crimes, we need to come up with ways to prevent plagiarism from becoming the norm. It has become too widely accepted and practiced for the issue to be ignored. There is no doubt that plagiarism will continue to be apart of academia and the literary world, but we can take the necessary steps by facing the truth that it has now gotten out of hand. The first step to solving a problem is the admission that it does exist. We need to promote the old fashioned principle of genuine hard work. Children should be taught from early stages the value of the written word and the necessity of individual creativity. If we target future writers and students long before they are exposed to the temptation of “intellectual property theft” then we can at least begin to deal with the problem before it even begins.

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