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Information Literacy

plagiarism tutorial

Plagiarism Online Tutorials

What is Plagiarism?

Deliberate plagiarism is copying the work of others and turning it in as your own. Whether you copy from a published essay, an encyclopedia article, or a paper from a fraternity's files, you are plagiarizing. If you do so, you run a terrible risk. You could be punished, suspended, or even expelled. In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.

All of the following are considered plagiarism:

. Turning in someone else's work as your own

·Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit

· Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks

·Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation

·Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit 


But can words and ideas really be stolen?

According to U.S. law, the answer is yes. The expression of original ideas is considered

intellectual property, and is protected by copyright laws, just like original inventions. Almost all

forms of expression fall under copyright protection as long as they are recorded in some way (such as a book or a computer file).

Why should you use citations?

To give credit to the sources you’ve used

· To enable others to find the same sources you’ve used

· To be part of the "scholarly conversation"




What is copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

What does copyright protect?
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

What is fair use? 

Fair use is determined on a case-by-case basis, and is governed by four factors:
1. Purpose – Is the use of the work for educational/informative purposes, or merely commercial?
2. The nature of the work that makes use of the copyrighted material – is it creative, derivative, or a compilation?
3. The amount of the copyrighted work used in relation to the work as a whole – This is a major factor in determining whether the use is a permissible "fair use."
4. The effect on the market or potential market – Will the reproduction of the copyrighted work affect the copyright holder’s ability to sell it? For instance, in the majority of instances it is a violation of fair use to copy an entire book (see factor #3, above). However, in the case of a book that is out of print and unavailable, but still under copyright, photocopying the book in its entirety for personal reference or educational use would be a fair use because it would not affect the author’s ability to sell the book.

Fair use questions arise commonly in academic settings, where students and professors alike wish to copy or reference passages of copyrighted works for educational purposes. And since the copyright law is designed to promote the dissemination of information, the vast majority of educational uses of copyrighted information are considered fair use. However, there are restrictions – for example, a professor wishing to post copyrighted information on a website for his or her students’ use should restrict access to that information by requiring a password.

Fair use issues may also arise, for example, when a reviewer wishes to critique a book, movie, or music CD and uses an excerpt from that work in the review. A book review that is printed in a for-profit newspaper might be seen as a commercial use, and if the review is negative, one might think that this would affect the marketability of the book – thereby violating the fair use laws in factors 1 and 4. Such use is overwhelmingly allowed, however, because the amount of the work reproduced in the review is usually negligible in relation to the whole work, and bad reviews don’t necessarily translate into a financial loss.

In light of the complexity of determining fair use, anyone with a potential fair use issue should either clear that use with the copyright holder or consult an attorney who specializes in copyright law.