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Plagiarism: Ivy Tech Northwest Libraries' Guide to Plagiarism and Copyright

Plagiarism...You've heard of it. You may know someone who is guilty of it. That someone may be you. But whether it is deliberate or accidental, plagiarism is wrong. 

The good news is that the more you know about plagiarism, the less likely you may be to commit it.  So read on to find out what plagiarism involves, how to recognize it, and most importantly, how to avoid it. 

Most of this information used to create this guide came from Ivy Tech Community College Libraries' Student Guide to Plagiarism and Copyright

Plagiarism and Ivy Tech's policy on Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is a violation of Ivy Tech Community College's policy on academic integrity.

If found guilty of plagiarism, you may be subject to disciplinary actions such as restriction of privileges, failure of your assignment or course or even suspension or dismissal from the College. 

According to Ivy Tech Community College's Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, Section II A. 3, Plagiarism is defined as:

"Presenting within one’s own work the ideas, representations, or words of another person without customary and proper acknowledgment of that person’s authorship is considered plagiarism. Students who are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism should consult with their instructors. Claims of ignorance will not necessarily excuse the offense."  
- Ivy Tech Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities

While plagiarism often involves printed work, such as books or articles, it is possible to plagiarize using a variety of other materials, including photographs, artwork, graphic designs, videos, audio recordings, and online information.  The internet is a common source of plagiarism. 

You are not committing plagiarism when you write about your personal experiences or opinions or when you provide information that is considered "common knowledge."

Common Knowledge is information generally known to others; it is often found consistently described in several sources. For example, the statement "George Washington served as the first President of the United States" is common knowledge. 

You may unintentionally plagiarize through improper use of writing techniques used to incorporate someone else's original information into your own work.  Each of these techniques, described below, requires that you give credit to the information source. 

Direct Quotations: These are the exact words of the original source, and they must be enclosed in quotation marks. Quotations may include words, phrases, or sentences. 

Paraphrasing includes the source material, but it is restated in your own words and style; the paraphrased material is about the same length as the original. 

Summary includes just the main points of your source material and is also written in your own words. A summary is generally shorter in length than the material. 

Examples of when you plagiarize...

  • Paraphrase by just changing or rearranging a few words from the original text
  • Neglect to use quotation marks when you use word-or-word information on your paper
  • Copy another student's paper and turn it in as your own work
  • Download a paper from a term paper website and submit it as your own
  • Copy and paste sections of a website directly into your paper without acknowledging the source of the information

WAYS YOU CAN AVOID PLAGIARISM

  • As you take notes, write down what you will need later for your citation (author, title, date publication, page numbers, website address, etc.).
  • If you copy something word-for-word in your notes, enclose this information in quotation marks and immediately write down the source.
  • When paraphrasing, read the material then close the book or cover the text, and try to write the information in your own words.  Don't paraphrase by just rearranging text or changing a few words.
  • Don't forget to give credit for the non-print sources you use (example: pictures or website).
  • Don't copy and paste from the Internet directly into your document.  It is easy to forget later where you found the information and its source.
  • Become familiar with the citation style that your instructor requires, and check with your campus librarian or instructor if you have questions about the style.
  • If you're not sure if the information is common knowledge, play it safe by citing your source.

CITE YOUR SOURCE

You give credit to your source with a citation.  A citation helps authenticate the information that you found and allows the reacher to find the original source for further investigation.

The word "citation" can be used to describe how you acknowledge the author in the body of your paper, and it also refers to the complete reference you provide in the bibliography or "Works Cited" section.  Check with your instructor for the citation style you should use for your course work. 

 

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Ivy Tech Community College requires that students understand and comply with copyright law and the terms of fair use to avoid copyright infringement of the original works of others.

What is copyright? 
“Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States [title 17, U.S. Code] to the authors of ‘original works of authorship,’ including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.” [United States Copyright Office, http://www. copyright.gov, accessed February 20, 2006].

To be protected by copyright, an original work must be fixed in a tangible form. Examples of tangible forms include: books, articles, websites, music, or videos. Copyright protection is automatic and requires no action or copyright symbol to activate. The copyright owner has rights as to how the original work may be reproduced, distributed, displayed, or performed.

The length of copyright protection varies depending upon when the work was created. Copyright for works created on or after January 1, 1978 is protected for the life of the author, plus 70 years.

Exemption to copyright protection extends to selected works, such as:

  • Those in the public domain [ex: slogans], 
  • Some educational materials, 
  • United States government works [This does not include state, local or foreign government works.],
  • Works for which copyright has expired.

Check with your campus librarian if you are not sure if a work is copyrighted.

You are by law the copyright holder of the work you create as an Ivy Tech student. This work includes research papers, digital projects, web sites, artistic creations, and any other work that is “fixed in a tangible form.” The protection given to your work is automatic and requires no registration or copyright symbol or statement on the work [although placing such a statement is advisable].

As the owner of the copyright for your work, you own and control the right to:

  • Make copies n Distribute copies n Display your work
  • Publicly perform your work
  • Create a derivative work [one adapted to a different form or format]

You also have the exclusive right to grant or deny permission to others to make and distribute copies of your work, display or perform it, or create a derivative work. 

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Plagiarism and Copyright Materials available at Ivy Tech Libraries

These are just a few of the materials available at Ivy Tech Northwest Libraries to further help you understand plagiarism and the ways to avoid it. Other materials that have been listed can also assist you to better understand copyright law and how to avoid copyright infringement and to be better informed. Please check with your local campus library for additional information on plagiarism and copyright.