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Is there monetary value to plagiarism?

In defining copyright infringement, the law has considerably narrowed all of the elements of illegal copying as plagiarism defines them. The copyright Act makes a difference between ‘expression’ that the law protects against copying and ‘ideas’ that the law does not protect. Similarly, copyright law does not protect facts, only the manner in which they are compiled or expressed; the fact themselves are in the public domain. Additionally, copyright law is not concerned with all expression but merely with particular statutorily defined categories of expression. This basic difference between infringement and plagiarism shows that while plagiarism is a failure of the creative process, copyright law examines the harm, which results, from copying, establishing that a work not protected by statute cannot be harmed. Therefore, the connection of an author’s name with a work symbolizes the relationship between the creation and creator, this connection has monetary value because copyright ownership that includes the right to control publication and other uses of the said work belongs to the author. However, it is important to note that there is also non-monetary value to having a person’s name linked to a work.

Commercial authors who sell publication rights may have no or little control over the design, editing, marketing, production, publicity or distribution for their works, yet authors who find this arrangement alienating can garner comfort from the sight of their names on the title page. In non commercial publications like scientific or scholarly journals, seeing their names in print and having their names seen by other people, might be the only compensation authors receive. That been said, by falsely claiming authorship of another person’s material, a plagiarist directly assaults the author’s interest in receiving monetary value. Therefore, using someone else’s content is an ethical issue.

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