ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Duplication vs Plagiarism

Updated on June 2, 2010
I couldn't think of an appropriate image so I stole this one. Marvel versus DC. Who owns the rights to this particular pic? I don't know. Maybe both will sue me. But it would be because of Copyright Infringement not Plagiarism.
I couldn't think of an appropriate image so I stole this one. Marvel versus DC. Who owns the rights to this particular pic? I don't know. Maybe both will sue me. But it would be because of Copyright Infringement not Plagiarism.

Duplication and Plagiarism

There seems to be some confusion, especially in the community here at HubPages, as to what duplication really is.

And to be quite honest, when you look at all the facts it can become quite confusing.

All plagiarism is duplication.

But what about something that is not published online and plagiarised?

All duplication is plagiarism.

But what about information that authors want distributed on the net? They have given permission for people to republish. Or PLR (Private Label Rights) articles that are sold? It therefore is not plagarized, but it will turn up as duplicate not just by the HubPage filters but Search Engines.

So there is a difference.

While it can overlap, lets look at them individually.

What is Duplication?

The republishing of information that is already present online, is what we are referring to in this discussion.

Search Engines don't like duplication. Think about it, they only need one copy of the exact same content. They will typically index the first instance of the information and rank it higher than those that come after it.

If it happens a lot, then they may have less "trust" in the site that is serving up all this duplicate material. And end up ignoring the content that is on the site.

Generally, although plagiarism is often loosely referred to as theft or stealing, it has not been set as a criminal matter in the courts. Likewise, plagiarism has no standing as a criminal offense in the common law. Instead, claims of plagiarism are a civil law matter, which an aggrieved person can resolve by launching a lawsuit. Acts that may constitute plagiarism are in some instances treated as copyright infringement, unfair competition, or a violation of the doctrine of moral rights. The increased availability of intellectual property due to a rise in technology has furthered the debate as to whether copyright offences are criminal. Source

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the practice of claiming or implying original authorship of (or incorporating material from) someone else's written or creative work, in whole or in part, into one's own without adequate acknowledgement.

While plagiarism in scholarship and journalism has a centuries-old history, the development of the Internet, where articles appear as electronic text, has made the physical act of copying the work of others much easier, simply by copying and pasting text from one web page to another.

Plagiarism is different from copyright infringement. While both terms may apply to a particular act, they emphasize different aspects of the transgression. Copyright infringement is a violation of the rights of the copyright holder, when material is used without the copyright holder's consent. On the other hand, plagiarism is concerned with the unearned increment to the plagiarizing author's reputation that is achieved through false claims of authorship.


Online plagiarism

Since it is very easy to steal content from the web by simply copying and pasting, the problem of online plagiarism is growing. This phenomenon, also known as content scraping, is affecting both established sites and blogs. The motivation is often to attract away part or all of the original site's search engine-generated web traffic and to convert these stolen visitors into revenue through the use of online ads.


HubPages Stance on Duplication

Or better titled: My Observation Of HubPages Stance on Duplication

Hubpages penalises for duplication, not for plagiarism. While it's against the law to plagiarise (according to copyright laws) Hubpages can only act on it if the author of the work submits a DCMA.

You may very well trip the filter, but what do you do then?

It is not the end of the world. If you're happy with what you've got, submit it for review.

If you have borrowed heavily from other sites (assuming you've done the right thing and given source links to those sites) then maybe you need an injection of more original content.

HubPages can and will enforce their policy on Duplication. They do it so the cream will rise to the to and HubPages will establish itself as an authority site. It does this by encouraging and rewarding its authors who publish quality content.

As HubPages reputation grows the authors have a wider audience to show their work.

Image by Nenad Jakesevic
Image by Nenad Jakesevic

HubPages Stance on Plagiarism

Or better titled: My Observation Of HubPages Stance on Plagiarism

While HubPages will incur a Hubscore penalty for duplicate content (see HubScore hub for more info) they do not police copyright infringements or plagiarism?


It is up to the orignal author of the work (copyright owner) to make a claim.

It would be an onerous task (and even an impossible one) for a team even five times the size of HubPages Inc to vet every page.

They do however take allegations of copyright infringement seriously. But there is procedure to follow. More on that later.

HubPages Duplicate Filter Warning

This Hub seems to contain text that is copied in large part from or to another site, and may be incurring a HubScore penalty as a result. If you revise the content so that it is unique to HubPages, your hub will automatically be rechecked for duplication in the next 48 hours.

Please note, that the issue of duplicate content is completely separate from issues of plagiarism or copyright. All that it means is that we found text very similar to what is contained in this hub elsewhere on the web.

If your Hub is truly original or simply quotes another web page in a reasonable manner, please request a review of this Hub by emailing Please note: An exception is typically granted only when quoting is done to a minimum.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Duplicated hubs in themselves are not a violation of our rules, and may remain published. However, promotional or affiliate links are prohibited on hubs identified as duplicate. What we consider overly promotional.

My Personal Opinion

If a hub was made and it contained snippets from other sites AND had source links, then it would not be plagiarism. Add to that some personal opinion, commentary or indepth analysis and it could turn into quite an interesting hub.

It may trip the duplicate filter.

Which has happened to me.

I've been experimenting with different ways of approaching hub making, and on occasion I have tripped various filters. Sometimes it's what they call a "false positive". It shouldn't have happened, but it did. If you feel that you fall into that category, request a review. All you have to do is click the button.

Other times I added fresh relevant content, and it passed muster.

I wouldn't suggest publishing PLR articles because even though you own them and you're allowed to republish as you see fit, there will be plenty of copies of the same content on the world wide web. You could consider rejigging it. But that's a whole other hub of discussion.

If you do get caught up in the duplicate filter and you submit it for review and get an exemption, this is the message that you will receive...

  • CERTIFIED ORIGINAL: This Hub has been granted an exception to the HubPages duplicate content penalty.

Below is a screenshot of where that message will display. Only you can see it. Visitors and other HubPage authors can't see it.

The hub won't automatically jump to a higher HubScore, but it will slowly climb out of it.

To date I don't know what you get if you fail to receive the exemption. I'd say "fingers crossed" but it's in my nature to be curious and inclined to experience the process and see what happens ;-)

HubPages HQ

I've collected snippets of statements made by various HubPage staff members and have collated them here for your convenience...

A duplicate penalty is applied when our automated duplicate content checker detects copies of the same verbiage on the Web.

Flagging something as duplicate only makes the duplicate content checker run the exact same automated process that it would do, just a bit sooner. (It moves it up the queue)

If something is completely unique content, and someone flags it as duplicate, the automatic checker will run, it will find out there are zero duplicates, and there will not be a penalty applied. Someone flagging something as duplicate will not give it a penalty.

There is the occasional false-positive, but we've only seen that on Hubs published outside the U.S. There are some forms of punctuation that mess up our duplicate content checker. We happily put in overrides in these cases when we manually check the content and see that it is original.


I'm pleased to announce a new factor that goes into assigning Hubscores. Hubs which largely contain content that can be found elsewhere on the web are now penalized slightly. This should help make the Hubscores better reflect our desire for quality original content.

Some authors who have republished the same content on a bunch of sites will likely see a drop in their Hubscores. But our best authors should enjoy slight lift in their scores as a result of this change.


The number of duplicates must reach above a certain threshold before the duplicate penalty kicks in.

If your Hub's content continues to be copied and the dupe checker does assign a penalty (you'll know because it will say so in the top notification pane), then let HubPages know and they can issue an override, since they are 100% certain you are the owner.

However, it is in your best interest to make sure that copies don't start stealing your search traffic, so contact the site owner and request them to remove the copy since it was copied without your permission.


We would prefer that people did not copy text and pass it off as their own... (but) it is not something that we can practically enforce. What we can do is to lower the HubScore for content that appears to be duplicated, and respond to DMCA Complaints.

We pass every hub that has sufficient text through a duplication measurement system. It isn't a perfect system, but it works pretty well. We've also enabled a flagging mechanism so that you all can let us know about suspected duplicate content. We will give hubs that are flagged as duplicates additional scrutiny. Hopefully this will ensure that most copied content is sufficiently penalized.


You should let the copyright owner know so that they can file a DMCA take down notice if they so choose. It's neither practical nor possible for us to make a determination on every single piece of content that flows through HubPages. If we even tried, we would immediately become liable for all infringements that we didn't catch. That's just the way the law works.


Copyright infringement is another matter and we will remove content that is in violation, as long as the copyright holder follows the proper reporting procedure.


Duplication vs Plagiarism. Do you believe there's a difference?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Sue B. profile image

      Sue B. 

      7 years ago

      Darkside, great hub! I just tripped the duplicate content filter and I am going nuts attempting to fix it. I am writing a hub on the meaning of cars in dreams. Dreams in general are discussed online at length so I am not sure exactly what is tripping off the filter and from where. If I was influenced too much by other sites, I would love to see which sentences are duplicated because I am sifting through and am just not sure. Do you know of any sites that can help you see which parts of your articles are duplicated? I am just at a loss here and I really like my hub. Thanks so much!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      7 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      I'm glad I found this hub today as it explains a situation I just encountered, about this in particular:

      "However, it is in your best interest to make sure that copies don't start stealing your search traffic, so contact the site owner and request them to remove the copy since it was copied without your permission."

      How timely for me. I've been ignoring a few sites that took my work and posted it on their site. Since they posted a link back to my original work I thought that was ok. Not really. I got a warning from HP about traffic sites and possibly unpublishing my hub.

      This informative hub explains a lot of things I had questions about and clears up some confusion on my part.

      Thank you so much. I will post a link from my one of my hubs back to this one if you don't mind too much.

    • profile image


      7 years ago from West Coast


      I almost feel like the little boy in "The Emperors New Clothes," except in this case the little boy is saying "but, these Hubs appear to be false clothing attempting to cover the original, naked article body. Can't anybody see right through them?"

      I have read numerous Hubs "written" by Hubbers on such a wide variety of topics, and supposedly written from personal knowledge, that it seems suspect that anyone could be that knowledgable about everything from Dark Matter to the Dark Side of the moon, and everything in between. I have wondered how some - not all- Hubbers could have such a vast amount of knowledge.

      With the availability of Article Factories and Article Spinning software, is it not possible, if not probable, that a large number of the Hubs are in fact Cubs -miniature versions of Momma bear, close but not full grown copies which are different enough to escape being labeled 'plagiarism" but actually birthed from an outside source?

      Am I clawing up the wrong tree? Are Hubs supposed to be original in content, or simple Googled topics that are re-worded and then posted as a Hub; then followed with the usual comments " great Hub", " very informative," etc?

      Thanks for your help.


    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Please tell me...if there is a check mark on "overly promotional" do I uncheck it? Does the check indicate that my hub is in trouble? Thanks...I really want to do the right thing.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent article.... Has answered my questions I was looking for :-)

    • gadgetpeak profile image


      8 years ago

      thanks, well explained!

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Australia

      scubadoggy, it will come up as duplicate. And for a start what you won't be able to do is link to any site outside of because of the duplicate content restriction.

    • scubadoggy profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice hub, thanks! One question though, what is Hub Pages stance on submitting the same article that we wrote for Hub Pages to Ezine Articles, or another article submission site?

    • TimArends profile image

      Timothy Arends 

      8 years ago from Chicago Region

      Nice Captain Marvel vs. Superman pic!

      It isn't that hard to rewrite PLR material to make it unique. In fact, In some ways, it's much easier than starting from scratch.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      9 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Sadly I have had 2 or 3 duplications. I had no idea what that meant. Now - I get it! Great, great hub and I thank you so very much!

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Australia

      Earnest, if you had plenty of other original content and it was only the poetry that was tripping the duplicate flag you should think about taking a screenshot of the poem, cropping it, and uploading it to the photo capsule.

      That way people can still read the poem, and you won't get the duplicate caution.

    • earnestshub profile image


      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Darkside, I have just removed my Banjo Paterson poetry hubs sadly, as obviously they were both marked as duplicate. :)

    • pbert profile image


      9 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Good to know, makes people feel better about writing original content when they know cheats won't win.

    • kea profile image


      9 years ago

      Great information. Thanks for the thorough research!

    • Helen Cater profile image

      Helen Cater 

      9 years ago from UK

      After my first experience of having my work pinched I really needed this advice. I wish they had a more simple solution but I guess it would be almost impossible. Thanks for this informative hub as I think all new hubers would benefit from this.

    • viryabo profile image


      9 years ago

      Clear and quite informative. Always wanted to know the exact meaning of those terms.


    • eugie17 profile image


      10 years ago from online (everywhere)

      this hub is awesome for all hubpages users

      thanks a lot for sharing it

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 

      10 years ago from Queensland Australia

      good info thanks !

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great info!

    • Ashley Ryan profile image

      Ashley Ryan 

      11 years ago from Canada

      Hello! Thanks for the info!!!

      I use alot of content from my blog on here. Its only on one other site (my blog) and not everywhere will I still get penalized for this?

    • darkside profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Australia

      Carolina, it may end up doing so, but if it does I'll put it up for review and we'll see what the HubPages Honchos will do with it.

      At the end of the day a lesser Hubscore isn't going to stop the effectiveness of this hub.If it goes below 50 it may be detrimental to my overall Author Score but other than that it's not going to dampen my hub enthusiasm.

    • Carolina Crete profile image

      Carolina Crete 

      11 years ago from Crete, Greece

      Thanks, good hub. Surely though, it tripped the duplicate content penalty with all those quotes. Or am I missing something?

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I linked to your page from my own take on plagiarism.

    • profile image

      LaZinnia Manley 

      11 years ago

      nice article, I am dealing with copyright infringement at the moment, infigement will really tick you off

      LaZinnia Manley

    • singpec476 profile image


      11 years ago from Not Too Far Away

      Great hub, there is an awful lot of both terms happening online but without issuing lawsuits there is not a lot we can do, I have written lots of articles of my own and found them a few weeks later on someone elses site almost word for word, but with so many desperate for content (it seems) it is going to happen.

    • C-Lee profile image


      11 years ago

      A discussion that goes beyond definitions by examining the question "what are my chances to get away with theft (copyright, intellectual property, internet traffic -- take your pick)?" certainly belongs on the "Dark" side.

      Fortunately, the blogging system is set to intrinsically reward honest and original work that acknowledges its sources. I suppose another attribute of the system is that it eventually separates the wheat from the chaff.

    • kashifmahmood profile image


      11 years ago from Web

      Very details and useful explanation . Nice work .

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      11 years ago from Sydney

      Some much needed knowledge

      Have occasionally wondered why excrutingly boring hubs get high scores.

      I believed the hub was there for knowledge and entertainment.

      Not so you are able tell us with your great HUb

      Not much entertainment in boredom, even if original

      Thank you

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 

      11 years ago from Central New Jersey

      Thank you,thank you for putting it all together and laying it out so effectively. yeah darkside. Your "hubericity" is awesome.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Perfectly explained! Thanks Darkside.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      11 years ago from Sydney

      Excellent explanation!

    • Misha profile image


      11 years ago from DC Area

      Much needed hub! Hope it will help our poor peers.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)