Saturday, March 19, 2011

Plagiarism and Copyright

What is the difference between plagiarism and copyright? What is fair use, and how does it affect teachers?

Well…I am going to answer these questions for you.

First off, plagiarism is copying or taking the ideas of another writer without formal acknowledgment. An example of plagiarism would be turning in a term paper to your English teacher, who happened to assign the same paper to your older sister 3 years ago. Since she typed (and saved) this paper on your family desktop computer, you have easy access to it where you can open it, and maybe even you retype your name where your sister's was, and turn it in and call it your own.

Plagiarism does not have to be a whole document, but can also occur when a line or two are taken from a source, but not quoted or cited. As technology improves, making it easier to plagiarize (like by copying/pasting), technology has also helped in plagiarism detection. When I was in high school, we had to turn our papers in on This site is a plagiarism detector that compares the contents of your paper across the web, and the contents of other papers turned in using

Now, as for copyrights, copyright laws protect original material by an author. The owner of the copyright has the rights to control the distribution, adaptation, reproduction, public performance, and public display of their work. Copyright laws are not limited to written material, but music, plays, pictures, moves, and sound recordings as well.

Fair use allows teachers to use copyrighted material for educational purposes. Fair use had four standards that determine whether the copyrighted material is under the fair use exemption.

The four standards are:

· purpose of use

· nature of the work

· extent of the material used and

· effect on marketability.

An article from on copyright says, “Fair use in the classroom is often dependent on the subject matter of the content. Ensign says a teacher may not be allowed to show the film The Lion King to the class simply because it was raining and the kids were squirrelly. It could be shown only if the class were doing a study of Disney films or were engaged in the study of a related subject “ This means that in order for fair use to apply, the copyrighted materials must be for uses in the lesson. Fair use does however limit teachers as to how much copyrighted material they can use such as material may not be used for consecutive terms, how many short stories out of an anthology can be used, and the number of copies that can be made.

Sources Used:

Lawrence, Star. "Teachers Should Know Copyright from Wrong." Edutopia. 03 Mar. 2008. Web. 19 Mar. 2011. .

· This article interviews a law professor at the University of Louisville. It talks about how teachers are taking advantage of fair use laws by using pictures and videos from the internet, and how school districts need to enforce fair use and copyright laws.

· I believe that the article contains valid and accurate information. Although the article is 3 years old, the ideas behind teachers and fair use talked about in the article are still relevant today.

· I agree with the article that teachers need to realize that just because they are using the material for education, does not mean that it falls under the fair use guidelines. I believe that this article is very relevant today, seeing has how easy it is to take pictures and video from the internet to integrate it in a project or presentation.

"Plagiarism & Copyright." Nova Southeastern University. 01 Aug. 2005. Web. 19 Mar. 2011. .

· This article gives the differences in plagiarism and copyright laws. It also talks about citations and fair use, and also gives examples of paraphrasing to avoid plagiarism.

· I do believe that the information is accurate. I looked at a few different sites and this one did the best job of explaining plagiarism, copyrights, and fair use all in one. I do believe this source to be reliable because it is on the website of a university, and they would not want inaccurate or unreliable information on their site. This site is a little older then the article from before, it was last updated in 2005, but the basis of plagiarism and copyrights have not changed.

· I really liked just how this site is worded. It is very easy to understand, clear, and straight to the point. It contains very little, if any, invaluable information to the subject.

· I used this site as an example. I personally used this site in high school (2 years ago).

1 comment:

  1. I really feel like it is so important for teachers to spend more time teaching and informing students about all the different things that can be considered copyrighting and plagiarism. You did a great job of researching and explaining your topic!