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This guide will help you plan your paper and to give you some tips about how to prevent plagiarism.
Copyright Basics from Williams College Library
This site contains some basic information regarding Copyright Law. There are several other links included on this page that might be helpful to you as well, including the more comprehensive Stanford University site and the Comic Book Style guide hosted by Duke University.
This site describes the basics of Fair Use - a facet of copyright law that allows for limited use of copyrighted materials.
Take this quiz to test your knowledge on the basics of plagiarism.
What is Plagiarism?
What is Plagiarism?
Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work, or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense:
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarize" means
- to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
- to use (another's production) without crediting the source
- to commit literary theft
- to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.
In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.
But can words and ideas really be stolen?
According to U.S. law, the answer is yes. The expression of original ideas is considered intellectual property, and is protected by copyright laws, just like original inventions. Almost all forms of expression fall under copyright protection as long as they are recorded in some way (such as a book or a computer file).
All of the following are considered plagiarism:
- turning in someone else's work as your own
- copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
- failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
- giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
- changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
- copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)
Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism. See our section on citation for more information on how to cite sources properly.
“What is Plagiarism?” Plagiarism.org. Accessed September 26, 2010. <http://www.plagiarism.org/learning_center/what_is_plagiarism.html>