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What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is when you use someone else's work or ideas, intentionally or unintentionally, without proper citation or acknowledgment. Some examples include:

  • Copying/pasting other’s words without paraphrasing or quoting and citing them (intentionally, carelessly, or unintentionally). This includes changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit or failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • Submitting someone else’s work as your own - this could be another student’s paper or a paper from a third party that you purchased or downloaded online 
  • Self-plagiarism (resubmitting your own work as new work)
  • Using false or fabricated data in your research paper (making information up)
  • Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • See Types of Plagiarism (from Turnitin)

What is Collusion?

Collusion occurs when the unattributed source is one or more fellow learners, whereas all parties involved have colluded and committed academic misconduct. Collusion supports plagiarism or other unfair advantages. Some examples include:

  • Allowing an assessment to be copied
  • Neglecting to report known collusion or plagiarism to a teacher or school official (Academic Honesty Policy, 2019, p. 7)
  • Sharing answers to a test (including taking photos)
  • Allowing another student to copy an assignment that is to be submitted individually

Ways to Prevent Plagiarism and Collusion

  • Know your sources: What type of information is your source, Where did the information come from, who wrote it, when was it published or posted, and why
  • Paraphrase, Summarize, and Synthesize 
  • Plan/manage your time so you aren’t waiting until last minute to submit your work
  • Don’t collude with others to cheat

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection given to the authors or creators of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other intellectual works.  As the author of the work, you alone have the right to do any of the following or to let others do any of the following:

  • Make copies of your work;
  • Distribute copies of your work;
  • Perform your work publicly (such as for plays, film, dances or music);
  • Display your work publicly (such as for artwork, or stills from audiovisual works, or any material used on the Internet or television); 
  • Make “derivative works” (including making modifications, adaptations or other new uses of a work, or translating the work to another media).

In general, it is illegal for anyone to do any of the things listed above with a work created by you without your permission, but there are some exceptions and limitations to your rights.  One major limitation is the doctrine of “Fair Use.”   

Copyright law in the United States is embodied in federal laws enacted by Congress.  The current copyright law, the Copyright Act of 1976 (as amended), is codified in Title 17 of the U.S. Code.

from Copyright Kids (

Copyright Terminology and Flowchart

Finding and Searching Copyright Friendly Media

  • A Copyright-Friendly Toolkit curated by Joyce Valenza. Use this resource as a portal to link to search engines and websites that offer videos, images, and more that labeled for reuse. Try some Google Search strategies to narrow down content labeled for reuse
  • Creative Commons
  • Google Search Tips for Images: Reverse Image searches

What is Fair Use?

Fair Use is an exception to Copyright Law allowing the use of media in a reasonable manner and for educational purposes without needing permission from the copyright owner. Four factors are involved when determining if using another's work fall under Fair Use:

  1. The purpose of the use (What are you using it for?)
  2. The nature of material (What type of material is it?  Video, website, book?)
  3. The amount of material being used (How much are you using?)
  4. The effect on the market for the work (Are you profiting from using the material?)

Fair Use Websites

Fair Use Evaluator
Exceptions for Instructors
US Copyright Office Fact Sheet
Fair Use Analysis

Plagiarism or Copyright Violation?

  • Plagiarism is unacknowledged use of someone’s work- claiming it as your own, not citing, and is academic infringement 
  • Copyright violation is unauthorized use of someone’s work and is a legal infringement

  • Both refer to using someone else’s work in an unethical and irresponsible way