Plagiarism has been derived from the latin word plagiarius which has a profound meaning of kidnapping or unlawful detention. It is defined as the illegal act of stealing and passing off ideas or words of another person as one’s own without crediting the source. Plagiarism in itself is an act of fraud and is considered immoral and ethically unacceptable.  There have been rising cases of unearned increment in plagiarism of author’s reputation due to increased availability in intellectual property ( Nelson (2007, p65).This article therefore aims at giving us an insight on what plagiarism is, the penalties imposed, and the various strategies employed to stamp it out.

Plagiarism can be intra-corpal or extra-corpal. Intra-corpal is employed in the academic institutions where a student submits and presents work done by another in part or in whole. Whereas extra-corpal is work that has been obtained from an external source such as libraries or internet without reference to the original author  (Jensen et al., 2002 pp60-65). It has been argued that Intra-corpal shows lack of confidentiality in the knowledge of work done and is an indicator of lack of seriousness in the student.

Severe penalties are imposed upon detection of plagiarism. For example, United States and United Kingdom consider plagiarism as the worst academic contravention. Different institutions have different ways of addressing this issue which include: expulsion of student, suspension or even being referred in a particular unit (Rockhampton, 2002 p45).   In journalism plagiarism is viewed as a bridge of the ethic codes and disciplinary measures are imposed on plagiarized material ranging from suspension to termination of employment. Professors and researchers plagiarizing are censured; employments terminated and even lose credibility and integrity. In many universities degrees and awards may be revoked as punishment for plagiarism.