Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Plagiarism, What's the Big Deal?: Understanding Copyright

This LibGuide will define plagiarism, describe some of the consequences, and give a brief instruction to citation resources. This guide was created by Danielle Colbert-Lewis and Mary Ann Barnett.

Copyright Symbol

PDF of Copyright Basics

This is a helpful resource titled Copyright Basics, Circular 1 from the United States Copyright Office. This and other important information about Copyright can be found online at the United States Copyright Office website:

What is Copyright?

What Is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

• reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords

• prepare derivative works based upon the work

• distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending

• perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works

• display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural

works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisualwork

• perform the work publicly (in the case of sound recordings*) by means of a digital audio transmission

For more detailed information click on the link below to view the United States Copyright Office Copyrigth Basics resource.

Copyright Basics from the United States Copyright Office

See What Copyright Is All About


From the Copyright Clearance Center at