Research Assistance - Copyright and Plagiarism

What you need to know about copyright and plagiarism

What are copyright laws?

Copying a large portion of a book, magazine, song, photograph, or electronic resource violates copyright law. Willful violations of copyright may be subject to penalties.

Part of the Copyright Law refers to Fair Use. Under Fair Use, you may temporarily use materials that are copyrighted for purposes of education. If you intend to use a work for more than a limited time (greater than six months), you need to obtain written permission from the original author, creator, or publisher of the work. Many times works (writings, images, etc.) will have directions for obtaining copyright permission from the author or the publisher.

Try to use graphics from pages or resources that clearly give you permission to use their materials. If you use a graphic, photograph, or screen shot for a presentation, make sure you use the © symbol, the name of the creator of the image and the copyright date. Include the copyright information beside or under the images.

What’s plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s work as your own. When you submit work for credit that includes someone else’s work, the source must be acknowledged by use of accurate citations.

Whenever you find information you want to use for a project, keep a record of the bibliographic information (author, title, publisher, place of publication, copyright date, date accessed, etc.)  Give credit in the body (text) of the document and on your Reference (Works Cited) page.

Examples of plagiarism

  • Obtaining a paper from another student and submitting it as your own
  • Copying and pasting sections from the Internet without acknowledging the sources
  • Using the exact written words from a work without quoting the source
  • Paraphrasing someone’s written ideas in your own words without acknowledging them

More information on copyright and plagiarism


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