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Handout: Copyright and Plagiarism

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Scenario 1

Jeff uses ideas and phrases from a very old book, one that no longer has any copyright, in his essay. He doesn’t cite the information, because the book isn’t legally protected by copyright. Is this plagiarism or copyright violation? Marco decides that his sister’s blog has some good information on it, so he borrows some for use in his own blog. He doesn’t bother to cite her. Is this plagiarism or copyright violation?

Scenario 2

Danielle writes an essay that’s she worked very hard on and sends it off to an academic journal after she finishes it. The journal sends her comments on the essay, including one that claims her research has already been done and that she can’t publish her work, because another person already has. If she does publish it, would it fall under plagiarism or copyright violation?

Scenario 3

Christina is in an R&B group that often samples other artists in their work. They make a demo CD for a record company and sell copies at their concerts and on their website. That CD includes songs with pieces of other artists’ material, but only small samples. They credit the other artists in their liner notes. Is this plagiarism or copyright violation?

Scenario 4

Giselle is writing an essay and decides that she needs some sources that she can’t find. Because no one will get hurt if she makes up some sources and their contents, she does so and uses those fictional sources in her essay. Is this plagiarism or copyright violation?