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Plagiarism and Synonyms - Legal Information

Plagiarism - Disclaimer - Some legal literature - Plagiarism Detection Tools - Avoid Plagiarism

Use our software product "Synonymizer" to replace several words in your text for their synonyms, and thus avoid plagiarism.

Plagiarism Plagiarism is using others' ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information. Piracy is the unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted material

Plagiarism is very common in the Internet era, webmasters and college students being the worst offenders.

Many softwares and web services are available for teachers to detect it. We compiled a list of those services, and we found that most of them work by comparing strings of about 30 characters in both texts: the certified original and the suspected plagiarism. The coincidences are flagged as suspicious.

Google and other web indexes take samples of a text, and extract a "fingerprint" or series of measurements of those samples. They patented the system and you can read its method. Then they compare the samples, to decide if they are similar or not. If we use synonyms many times in a text, probably 10% of the total words, the samples will be different enough to avoid being detected and maybe penalized by google or the other systems. Google has immense computational resources, but not even them can analyze the whole text being published in the web. By using small samples they do enough "police" work to put some limits on plagiarism and text duplication. By no means that small sampling is enough to beat writers who produce minor changes in their texts, either by hand or with Synonym-replacing software like our product. False plagiarism accusations can occur when one of those softwares detects a slight coincidence between the texts being compared. Slight text coincidences can occur by inadvertent use or by chance. If you had the bad luck of writing the same word sequence as any other person in the Web you could face harsh consequences: academic sanctions, legal action or other problems.

The limit between "fair use" and "plagiarism" is not a clear one. The law does not provide a specific word-count that will be designated as fair use of another's work. The more material you take, the less likely it is that your use will be a fair use. Tentative published guidelines for teachers (quite conservative) say that you can copy text from a copyrighted source if you use 10% or 1000 words, whichever is less. The best way to avoid those limits and prevent plagiarism alarms is by using synonyms.

Synonymizer helps creation of derivative works.

Check a discussion about legal consequences of making such works at . They say: 

...derivative works are also protected by copyright, but "derivative" can be harder to prove that "word-for-word copy". Also, if you haven't filed your copyright with the Copyright Office, you may have a hard time finding a lawyer to take your case, since you would only be able to recover actual, provable damages. That is, you still own the copyright, but without the registration number, you can't get statutory damages.

Remember that the absence of copyright does not imply freedom to make derivative works. The author can file later for copyright, under the protection of the Berne convention, 

Several sites help detect plagiarism, by comparing a given text with Web sources. was the first, offering a free service (a first approach) and a paid service (a more complete analysis) mainly to teachers and universities. also helps users to find out if they were plagiarized.

In all cases, the more synonyms are used, the lower the chance of being detected by those systems. And the stronger will be your case in court, if the situation arises. That is a good reason to use Synonymizer.

See examples of synonymized text using our tool: Potter, Tarzan, Crusoe , and how they elude Copyscape detection.


This Synonym-replacing and synonym-managing software named Synonymizer is intended for stylistic purposes, avoiding excessive repetitions of words in a text.

We are aware that distortion of a copyrighted text can be used to elude intellectual property claims. Prevention of Plagiarism false alarms is different from avoiding legal consequences of blatant plagiarism.

We are not responsible for any misuse of our software. The authors are not liable for any incidental, indirect, or consequential damages related to the use of this software. Legal consequences of using our Synonymizer software are possible and are entirely left to the user responsibility. If you do not agree with this disclaimer please refrain from downloading the software and using it

Thanks to Jonathan from the now vanished for helpful discussions.

Small Hidden Print

Notice to Students:

We do not advice to use Synonymizer to steal text from the web and present it as you own work, for Essays and other writings.

"Children, do what we say, not what we do".

Plagiarism can smoothly be prevented - here are some clues

(This text was synonymized from an original in the University of Georgetown website)

Some legal literature

A brief intro to copyright

Copyright in an Electronic Environment ... formerly in

How much of someone else's work may I use... formerly in

Copyright: Buenos Aires Convention . I haven't read it, but it was done in my city.

Article for teachers: Cut and Paste Plagiarism