Copyright and Plagiarism for Print, Video, Images, and Electronic Articles

Although students are becoming increasingly dependent on technology for information, they must also learn to use electronic resources honestly. Youngsters must understand that when they plagiarize images, text, video clips, or music files they’re actually stealing the work of others. Their actions are subject to serious legal and disciplinary consequences! But where should teachers draw the copyright line? Can teachers themselves use copyrighted materials, ostensibly protected from duplication without permission, in classroom lessons, presentations or professional development workshops without first contacting the owner or paying royalty fees? Can they post electronic images downloaded from the Internet on the school Web site for non-commercial use? For answers to these questions and information on the legal doctrine called "fair use," visit the following Web sites:

Copyright and Schools

Hosted by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, there's information here (much in downloadable PDF format) about how copyright applies to everyone. You'll also find four "awareness" brochures for distribution to superintendents, principals, educators and students.

A Visit to Copyright Bay

Copyright violation is no game, but at this game-like Web site, updated to reflect changes in the TEACH (Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization) Act of 2001, teachers visit Copyright Bay, with its Fair Use Harbor, Infringement Reef, and Murky Waters, to play interactive games and learn more about Fair Use practices and copyright infringement in educational settings. The site is also suitable for older students. Be sure to visit the Bibliography/Webliography for additional resources on the topic.

Copyright Website

At this one-stop copyright super site, you'll find a wealth of information on the basics of copyright law, including several examples of audio and visual copyright violations. Discover what you may copyright and why, how to draft a copyright notice, how long copyright lasts, when you may infringe a copyright with impunity, and much more. This site, the brainchild of Benedict O'Mahoney, has been in operation since 1995. It contains a wealth of information about current copyright battles, Web site protection, Web design, and Web page links. It also provides online forms to copyright your Web site, articles, artwork or video clips.

Copyright and Fair Use in the Classroom, on the Internet, and the World Wide Web

You don't have to be a student or faculty at the University of Maryland to take advantage of the information at this University College Web site. Devoted to "copyright" and "fair use," it defines these terms and provides specifics on what may be copied and when you must obtain permission to use a particular resource. You'll find guidelines for use (without permission) of sections of lawfully obtained copyrighted works and even a Sample Letter to the Copyright Owner When Requesting Permission to Copy. See also Janeen McCarthy's Web article Implications for Educators, with guidelines for intellectual property in the classroom and an example of a School District's policy.

Copyright: United States Copyright Office

Designed to serve both the creators of copyright materials and those who use them, this United States government Web site posts information circulars on the copyright process, one-page fact sheets on related topics of interest, application forms that you can use to register a copyright, plus links to copyright related organizations and copyright law. You'll find a short history of the U.S. Copyright Office, a link to NewsNet for news about U.S.

What is Copyright Protection?

While copyright laws vary from one country to another, this one-size-fits-all primer on the basics of copyright (e.g., what it is, when it begins, what is required, and when it expires) provides a wealth of important information in one location. There is information on fonts, royalty-free images, sound clips, text, fair use and public domain, plus links to other resources. And, thanks to the generosity of the author, visitors have permission to reproduce any or all of the site text for educational, non-profit purposes.

Copyright and K-12: Who Pays in the Network Era?

Reality bites when budget cuts leave few dollars for the purchase of textbooks and other copyrighted materials. Piracy and increasing reliance on network technology seem to go hand in hand. This article discusses issues facing educators as demand increases for timely teaching materials while budgets decline. It advises educators of the special privileges that they have when it comes to copyright and also reminds them of the limits of those privileges.

Landmarks Citation Machine

Knowing why you need to cite sources is half the battle. Your students must also learn how to cite them. At this Web site both teachers and students can use the interactive fill-in-the-blank Web tool to create properly formatted APA (American Psychological Association) or MLA (Modern Language Association) citations. The interactive online tool handles citations for a variety of print and electronic resources, including books, anthologies, journal articles, Web pages, CD-ROM encyclopedias, interviews and newspaper articles. For a quick refresher on the appropriate APA Citation Style for journal, magazine, newspaper, Internet databases, CD-ROM encyclopedias, and Web site articles, plus books and book chapters visit APA Citation Style. There's also MLA Citation Style.

The Code of Academic Integrity and Acknowledging the Work of Others

Download a PDF version of this document to find out more about what Cornell University expects from its students regarding work submitted for academic credit. Even high school students would benefit from reading this document because it details what is permitted and the penalties for code violations.

What is Plagiarism?

Send your students to this excellent Georgetown University site which discusses, in student-appropriate language, essential issues surrounding copyright, including answers to ‘excuses’ like: “They said it so much better, shouldn’t I use their words?” “My friends get stuff from the Internet” and “I don’t have time to do it right.” The discussion “What is a paraphrase, anyway?” alone makes the site a valuable resource for anyone struggling with the concept of intellectual property.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Regardless of whether you’re a K-12 student, a faculty-member, or connected with a post-secondary institution, you commit an act of theft when you take the work of others and pass it off as your own. Thanks to OWL, the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University, students can learn all about actions that might be construed as plagiarism. Several very readable tables summarize which resources you must document and how to deal with the work of others when paraphrasing, writing and researching. There's also an activity sheet to test your familiarity with potentially troublesome situations. The similarly titled article Avoiding Plagiarism from California’s UC Davis contains information on what plagiarism is and how to cite sources

Cut-and-Paste Plagiarism: Preventing, Detecting, and Tracking Online Plagiarism

What every student should know about taking more responsibility for learning can be found at this Web site on plagiarism. Learn all about cheating and term paper mills. There are also several helpful tips for teachers explaining how to detect plagiarism. For more information on the topic, be sure follow the links to the other Web resources.

Turnitin Research Resources

Turnitin develops and markets several products and services designed to detect and prevent plagiarism. At its Research Resources Web site, you'll find a wealth of useful information about plagiarism: what it is, how to avoid it, how to prevent it, and how to detect it. You'll also find guidelines for proper source citations, answers to frequently asked questions about public domain, fair use and copyright, suggestions for how to integrate plagiarism detection into conventional classroom curriculum, printable handouts on proper citations and assignment writing for students, plus definitions for several topic-related terms. Be sure to visit Turnitin's sister site for more information about online plagiarism.