Does Plagiarism Apply to Legal Documents?

Legal documents can be complex, especially if you are not experienced in creating or handling them. Many small business owners that are trying to cut out legal fees might try to “draft” their own legal documents. This usually leads to copyright infringement or plagiarism, since many people who do not know how to create a legal document, such as Terms & Conditions or a Privacy Policy, will take another company’s document and switch out the names.

Plagiarism absolutely applies to legal documents. Copying a legal document, even if other people are doing it too, can put you at risk of being sued for copyright violation. Contracts are entitled to copyright protection and violating that copyright can result in serious penalties.

Instead of copying a legal document and switching the business names, we suggest you do one of the following:

  • Use a site or program that allows you to use a free use template. There are plenty of services, such as Legaltemplates, that provide legal templates for free or cheap. These templates are designed for companies and people to use fairly and without fear of copyright infringement.
  • Just hire a lawyer. The legal fees of paying for a lawyer to draft you up a legal document are nothing compared to the penalties you face for copyright infringement. If you are caught plagiarizing a legal document that is protected by copyright, you could face civil and criminal punishments.

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Get started by calling our New York office and speaking to a member of our team.