"Self" Plagiarism???!!!

  1. DzyMsLizzy profile image96
    DzyMsLizzyposted 7 years ago

    I see this term increasingly at writing sites online, and to me, it makes NO sense whatsoever.  This is a somewhat lengthy post to make my point, but I do have a related question at the end.

    Plagiarism is a violation of copyright; one person taking another's work and presenting it as their own.  It is actionable in a court of law.

    Since you cannot sue yourself, and you own the copyrights to your own works, it would seem obvious that you are free to use them whenever, however and wherever you see fit.

    Unless you have published your work online   with a publisher who requires signing over to them all the rights (in a 'work for hire' scenario--as with Demand Studios, e.g., which publishes on e-How and some other how-to and self-help sites), you still own your rights to your digital works.

    Since Hub Pages is not a 'work-for-hire' site, and makes it clear that we retain all our copyrights and all rights to our works posted here, ownership of copyright is not the issue here.

    If you have published a physical book with a traditional publisher, granting them, for example, "First North American Rights." there is a time limit before which you may not re-publish that content anywhere; that is in the contract you sign. Once the contractual time limit expires, you are free to re-use the work-you still own the copyright.

    However, if you have, for instance, a blog, and use that material to re-post elsewhere, that is not  plagiarism by any legal definition.  You don't have to be a lawyer to know this; anyone able to read can figure it out.

    The concept of so-called "self plagiarism" is so ludicrous as to be laughable.  You simply cannot plaigiarize yourself!

    That said, I do understand sites such as Hub Pages wanting original content, and not the same articles you've written once simply copied and wallpapered across cyberspace.  I simply object to the terminology.  It is incorrect.

    I also understand that plastering the same content across multiple online sites can be detrimental vis-a-vis Google search and ratings, so I don't do it.  However, this does bring up my reason for this post--that question:

    I have already published, here on HP, a particular very brief poem as part of a colleciton of equally brief poems.  I grouped them together with others of similar topic so as not to have that hub classified as "sub-standard" for being too short.

    Yesterday, I re-worked ONE of the group, which was "almost" a Haiku, and turned it into an actual Haiku (it is very close to the same; I merely edited a few words for syllable count)  It would do well as a stand-alone with a photo.  If I publish that poem and photo in a hub of its own, would HP consider that as 'copying'? 

    Thank you for any clarification.

    1. profile image0
      Sophia Angeliqueposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      For lack of a better word, those that use the term, 'self-plagiarism' mean that one has taken one's work on another site and used it on a second site which wants only unique work - and not one's work that has been published on another site.

      It's a misnomer. Probably, a word for it doesn't exist.

      One could say that one only want's 'first rights' not 'second rights', but that's not quite right either... smile


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