Although there are many arguments about the difference between fair use and plagiarized content, there are no steadfast rules to distinguish both.
Fair use means different in different scenarios. A layman cannot tell if the use of content by a person without giving credit to the original author was a fair use or plagiarism. Nor can probably the author be able to tell the difference. Well, that doesn’t mean you don’t have an option and can anyone can get away with plagiarism in the name of “fair use”.
The best way to find out plagiarism or fair use is through a court. What might help one is the history of previous cases, in order to identify one’s own work, by looking into similar examples? There are also many elements defined, against which you can judge if the content was used fairly or not.
Distinguish Between Fair Use and Plagiarized Content
Well, a few things to consider when trying judging if the copied content fell under fair use or plagiarism are as follows:
1. If the content is not being used for commercial purpose, but for educational purpose or for criticism or just as a commentary, it falls under fair use.
2. How much of the content was copied also matters? If you used a large portion of an author’s content, it can, in no circumstances, fall under fair use. However, if the content used was a small portion and was probably used because the information was important and should have been shared and could not be changed a lot due to the fear of losing the original meaning, fair use laws might come in.
3. It is also important to see what was the effect of the used content in the potential market. If the effect was negative, it’s not tolerable. However, if it was positive and enough credit was given to the author of the content, it falls under fair use.
4. When trying to analyze fair use, it is considered if the content used was absolutely necessary and for a good intent or not. If only as little as much was necessary was copied, it might be considered as fair use. However, if the information was copied and used at length, without discriminating what was needed and what was used just for the sake of it, it falls under plagiarism and can be held responsible for it too.