·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


Is It Legal to Download Free Essay Samples Online?

— June 9, 2020

You cannot just download a free sample, change a few words, add your own, not related references, or come up with another name and use it as your own.

We live in a liberal society, and sometimes it plays against us. On the one hand, we became much more concerned about legal issues and someone else’s feelings; on the other hand, we are afraid of our own shadow sometimes, and it is not a good thing. Once, students have been in the avant-garde. In most of the revolutionary movements, students acted as a driving force. Now, with the increasing amount of norms and restrictions, students ask 25 questions just before doing something. It is not exactly their fault, but it is something that should be changed. We take as an example free essay samples online.

Students come to us and ask — can we download them? Is it legal to download? Well, of course, we want to answer — you are a student! Rebel! But, it is not the point where rebellion is needed, fortunately, or unfortunately. It is entirely legal to download free essay samples online. And, as we know you need proof, we have collected several bulletproof arguments.

Authors write essays for free distribution

It is wrong to compare using free samples with downloading movies or music from pirate sources and illegal websites. When it comes to movies and songs, it is stealing, as moviemakers, singers, labels, have legal ways to distribute their content, and they want to get paid. They didn’t provide pirate sources with this content willingly. Well, that is exactly why they are called “pirate sources.” It is not the same with essay samples, because authors write them specifically for certain sources. They write it for you to use, to learn, to have as an example in front of you when you are writing your own paper. There is no fraud involved, rights are not violated. 

More of it, when it comes to reliable and popular websites with free essay samples, such as, you can rest assured that writers get paid for their work. Not by you, but by the owners of the website. With quality-written free samples, they attract the needed audience. Authors are protected, they are paid, content is original, it is rightfully placed at a particular website, and you can feel free to download it any time you want. Remember, first of all, it is legal because it doesn’t violate someone’s rights.

These samples are as legal as samples in your textbooks

We don’t know which disciplines you study right now and what your year education is, but if you open a textbook related to English writing, you will find samples. Well, even if the textbook is not related to English writing, you will find some templates and examples. It can be a template of methodology for a research paper, a sample of a lab work, etc. If a textbook doesn’t have practical samples and templates, it is very hard to follow it, to learn something from it. But, let’s assume all of your textbooks are quality enough, and samples accompany each chapter.

image of textbooks
Textbooks; image courtesy of stevepb via Pixabay,

These templates are similar to online free samples. Of course, you cannot just rewrite them, but you can use them to understand the topic better, to see the work with references, to analyze the structure, assess the style of arguments, etc. All the same with free online samples. Is it legal to use textbooks and study from templates and samples they include? Yes, of course. How is it different from using proven, professional websites with free essay samples? It is not.

Samples are legal until you use them improperly

You cannot just download a free sample, change a few words, add your own, not related references, or come up with another name and use it as your own. It would be a fraud. What you need to do, is to download a free essay sample, analyze it, cut it into pieces, understand how they are combined, etc. It is not that easy, it requires additional work, but you want to do things right and legal. You may be surprised, but many students don’t know how to use such online examples. We recommend paying attention to style, formatting, references and sources, the structure of arguments, thesis statements, conclusions. This way, using a template is fully legal.

Also, to stay within legal boundaries, we recommend not to post the essay you download elsewhere. While a writer definitely gave his permission to a particular site, like EssaysDot, he didn’t give you permission to distribute his work further. Respect it. Also, even when you use a free sample just as an inspiration, don’t forget to check your own work meticulously later, applying plagiarism checkers. Unfortunately, your own brain is lazy, and it is prone to copying everything it sees to make its life easier. It may be tricky, so don’t forget to check everything to avoid technical plagiarism. Also, remember that some of the online essays may be outdated, so, check the mentioned sources for factuality. 

If you are not sure that free samples will be able to help you with a writing assignment, think about custom written papers written in accordance with your requirements. One such a sample can be of great help for semesters to come because it will take into account your professor’s demands. It is also a good way out when you don’t have enough time to deal with every writing task in your pocket, feel overwhelmed, and start procrastinating. Sometimes, it is wise to delegate your tasks, take a deep breath, and collect some energy to move forward.

Join the conversation!