Fiverr Community Forum

Is Plagiarism this Common?

I offer editing and proofreading gigs. Lately I’ve gotten numerous gigs asking me to use plagiarized material. The buyers don’t use the word plagiarism, but they tell me they took a quote from another site and want me to “rewrite it” in their “own” words. I’ve had to cancel each one of these. Is plagiarism this common, or do people simply not know what it means? Has anyone else had this issue?


Well, technically it’s not plagiarism if someone copies an article and then hires someone to totally re-write it. That’s called spinning and as long as the re-write changes it well enough, it’s legal and legit. Some sellers offer spinning and original writing, some offer only spinning, and some only original writing. If you don’t want to do that kind of gig, you might want to specify that you don’t do spins or re-writes.

Plagiarism is a common problem everywhere from online to schools, but I just don’t see what you describe as actual infringement.


It’s fine if it’s spun like Fonthaunt said. The whole internet is basically built on it. Have you seen blog journalism lately? Not to mention real journalism. It’s hackery at best.


Yep, common. I work art, so it’s a bit different but the same. People ask me to draw IP characters all the time like Mickey Mouse. Plus if you check out BR, tons of people asking for existing content. I usually tell them I only do original art, and send them on their way.

Maybe listen to the above posters… I don’t think I can spin art though, haha.

Thank you for that response. I will have to modify my gigs.
Spinning sounds like another name for plagiarism. This person actually sent
me links to websites and asked me to rewrite them.

Yea , thats not plagiarism. People have been doing this since the beginning of time.

It is not a practice I like but it isn’t illegal as such and technically not plagiarism.
My opinion would be that writers should avoid doing this kind of work as it undermines creativity and original work.
The view is nice from atop my horse but I also understand people need to make a living too.

It’s true. One only has to look at the great stories throughout the ages to realize they are all written on the same basic boilerplate. Antagonist, protagonist, love interest, 3 act. Shakespeare-- how many of his stories have been “adapted” for Hollywood? I’m not just talking straight adaptations, but also completely new stories. See also Jane Austen.

A good rewrite, like I provide, is much the same thing. You wouldn’t even know.


I don’t want to touch it, so I modified my gig to not include plagiarized
work, spinning or rewriting. I just want to copy edit and proofread. Thanks
for the input, folks!

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Ah, that happens time from time to me too. Just use the basic idea of the site/service and write them unique content. In the end, clients only want content that’s as good or better than the site they want you to spin content from. The way you do that is up to you.

I find it hard, as a writer, to rewrite someone else’s work. For Fiverr, I
don’t have that kind of time. I’m glad others do. Maybe I can refer these
people; I’ve had several requests for rewriting in the past few weeks.

There are people who sell spinning as a specific gig, so if you want to refer, just search and you’ll find some people hungry for work. I don’t offer it, but I don’t have a problem with it. Some of my college courses even had us do re-writes of popular work to help us learn how to write in different styles. If it bothers you though, no need to do it. :slight_smile:

It’s not plagiarism, as the others who replied have said. There’s nothing that says a person can’t ‘spin’ their own article (or have it done) with their own writing, but depending on the circumstances it can get messy, legally. Here in the U.S. you can keep the right to create derivative works based on your own work (not sure what the default is). In that case it could be illegal, regardless of how much it’s changed. It’s not legal unless you’re given the appropriate rights to do that, it just becomes harder to prove the more the work is altered. And yes, it applies to all intellectual property (in the U.S.) Just because it’s common and commonly done, doesn’t make it legal, sorry people.

@emmaki The blog posting might be private blog networks (bad ones). And yes, real journalism does tend to be rather poor. I think in the case of journalism they may be able to claim they were reporting something they heard about, though. There’s no requirement that it be first person journalism. And the internet may be based on it, but that behavior is probably what spawned the DMCA. Boilerplate is not spinning, though. I don’t think most countries allow someone to copyright an idea. But writing and art product, definitely.

@eoinfinnegan I’m not sure about the laws in Ireland, but it sure can be illegal here in the U.S. There is quite extensive case law regarding it. There is also a quite extensive history of Americans breaking the law to make a living, too. The cannabis businesses here are proof of that (it’s still against U.S. Federal law).

@fonthaunt Changing it enough actually only applies to trademarks, not copyright/IP in general. The more it’s changed, the harder it is to prove, yes, but not legal. As far as the rewriting in college, that’s a little different. That’s fairly common in college art as well. Those are academic exercises.

I do like @ssj1236 's idea about unique content, but I worry that could go awry if you have to involve CS.

@triciak Don’t forget, the Gig requirements are your friend. As added security, you can make a statement (again) that you don’t do that and then and make the Buyer confirm that via a yes or no answer. I know it won’t stop someone, but it would require the Buyer to outright lie in the requirements. Of course, if someone chooses no and buys anyway, you would have to cancel, but you’d at least have proof that they ordered something you don’t do (knowing that you do not do that).

Once again. spinning you own writing (or having someone else do it) is not illegal. Using someone else’s is, unless you are able to secure the rights from the creator to do so. And for all of you participating in this topic, I’m not trying to make anybody angry, but I do feel that it needs to be said. I am truly not trying to cause trouble.

EDIT and when I said bad private blog networks, I meant poorly done ones, as they are designed to cheat in general, as I understand it (and therefore all technically bad).

In my opinion, rewriting is perfectly fine. Every week, I get 2-3 such orders. As I am not completely copying someone else’s work, it should be fine. And as emma said, you wouldn’t even know.

I’m very familiar with the U.S. laws and re-writing content. Correctly done spinning is an entire re-write inspired by existing work. I stand by my assertion that it’s not illegal when done right. Other than this statement, I won’t comment on further debate. The thread is a good discussion, regardless.

I do not consider rewriting and gaining inspiration as the same thing, just to clarify.

As far as I am concerned, it’s on the individual to decide. My rewrites are too much on the pricey side to just be a simple rewrite, so I just use them as inspiration. Plagiarism is the most common issue in the world of writing, and that’s typically limited to a badly-spun article, or in some cases a Google Translate with leftovers. They key really is creating a whole new article. I specify in my gig that it is a manual rewrite. It’s not just changing the words; it’s the tone, the layout, all that jazz.

Is it ripped off? Oh hell yes. But it’s a high quality rip-off. A bit like the fake Chanel handbags from the same factory that produces the real deal, rather than the Despicable Me bullshit in videos. As I said slightly more upthread, it’s how it’s done. There are levels of acceptability (which vary between the various arts)–but at the end of the day, how many creatives have put a nod towards the old quote of “great artists copy, poor artists steal”? There’s plenty of variants on that. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery being another.

So, that’s my justification anyhoo not that I think it needs one–but I can understand if another writer wants to just avoid it.

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If you’re a proofreader, simply write in your gig description that you don’t rewrite articles, you just check grammar and spelling and fix mistakes.

I have a proofreading gig as well, I assume that all the work I get is original, I certainly don’t check it online for plagiarism because I’m not paid to do that.

As sellers, our job isn’t to think too much or to play detective with our buyers. That’s why I’m comfortable getting orders from MLM’s even if I don’t like MLM’s. What I can’t do is something that offends my values. For example, I knew a Mormon copywriter who couldn’t work on tobacco, alcohol, or coffee accounts. Today he’s very happy at an agency in Utah. I also knew an agency that couldn’t do alcohol accounts, but they are happy doing root beer, non-alcoholic beer, mocktails, etc.

As for plagiarism being common. I think there are many blogs that have been created by people who aren’t passionate about an interest but are simply trying to make money. So, if John Smith has a blog about dogs and he needs dog articles, he might try to find the most popular dog article and then rewrite them.

As a blogger, I think that’s unethical. A better tactic is news jacking, you find breaking news on a subject, copy a portion in your blog, and provide attribution back to the original story. That way you’re creating a backlink for someone else while helping a story become more popular.

Of course, the most important thing is 100% original work. If you’re blog is about plant pictures, taking your own pictures of plants is better than borrowing pictures from Google. Do it long enough, and your blog might become the go to place for plant pictures or whatever you’re into.

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It’s totally not plagiarism. From other views, I think the right word is SPINNING.

I’d say there are no new contents on the net, most especially as the numbers of blogs and websites keep rising hourly. Website owners search for competitors or big giants in their industry, only to desire the kind of contents they are selling with