Copyright and Plagiarism

Plagiarist Robbing Ideas (Stock Image)


Complete the following exercise (RIT, n.d.):

Is it Plagiarism?

Questions for Consideration?

When do students need to cite sources and when do they not need to cite sources?

What makes something fair use?

Plagiarism and Copyright

An important aspect of digital citizenship is respecting another person's ideas and intellectual property. However, plagiarism is major problem in most schools today, with over 90% of teachers saying they caught students plagiarizing another author's work (Enago Academy, 2018). This issue is fueled by how easy it is to do students, not having enough time to complete an assignment, or students not feeling adaquate to complete the assignment (Enago Acadesmy, 2018). Plagiarism is a major issue because most of the time, an author's work is protected by copyright laws, which protects authors from having their work stolen or used with permission (Enago Academy, 2018). However, legal proceedings have caused the exact defintions of copyright, fair use, and plagiarism to become muddled and confusing (Enago Academy, 2018). As a result, it is the primary responsiblity for educators to teach students about plagiarism and to enforce policies against plagiarism (Enago Academy, 2018).

One cruical aspect of avoiding plagiarism is attribution, or citation (Enago Academy, 2018). Citation is giving explict credit to a source as the origin of the idea used (Enago Academy, 2018). It is important for students to be able to know how to cite sources in appropriate writting styles, usually both as an in-text citation and a reference page. In addition to preventing plagiarism, citation of sources also allows for educators to examine student's ability to correctly use sources and give feedback. The reason attribution is important to copyright is that without attribution, it is impossible for someone to make a legal case for the use of a copyrighted item being considered Fair Use (Enago Academy, 2018).

Fair Use

Fair use is the ability to use a copyrighted material legally without the permission of the copyright holder (Enago Academy, 2018). The are four major justifications for fair use: purpose of use, nature of source, amount of work used, and the effect that using the source would have the copyright holder's ability to profit off of copyright (Enago Academy, 2018). It is fundamentally illegal to make money off of another person's copyrighted material (Enago Academy, 2018). However, educational purposes fall under fair use so long as no profit is made from the student's work (Enago Academy, 2018). This means that any material used for classroom activieties or learning assignments are likely fair use. However, credit must still be given to source material in order to properly apply for fair use (Enago, Academy, 2018).


Using the resources below, create a short PowerPoint to teach students about plagiarism and citing sources.

Additional Resources

Plargiarism and Fair Use (Enago, 2018)

Purdue's Citation Guidlines (Purdue, n.d.)


Enago Academy (2018, May 7). When does fair use become plagiarism? Enago Academy. Retrieved from 

[Illustration of man plagiarizing work]. Retrieved May 30, 2020, from

Purdue University. Purdue online writing lab. Purdue University. Retrieved from

RIT. Can you indentify paraphrasing vs plagiarism ? Learning Information Veracity at RIT. Retrieved from