Is plagiarism the same as copyright?


COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT is a legal offense, which involves the unauthorized use or distribution of someone else's creative work, which can include writings, songs, video clips and movies, visual art, or other creative works, and is punishable under federal law. There are exceptions and you can review these with our quick reference Copyright Guidelines.

PLAGIARISM is an ethical offense, which includes use of someone else's work without providing proper attribution and passing it off as your own. Plagiarism does not necessarily include copyright infringement, although it can be used as the basis to charge someone with copyright infringement.  Even though copying one sentence, for example, from a short story or an online article is legal under copyright law, it may still qualify as plagiarism from an academic perspective, unless the source has been adequately credited. The library has a number of citation guides which will help you with avoiding plagarism.

Plagiarism isn't just an issue for students. Instructors should also be citing all sources.

Plagiarism may not always have legal ramifications but it can seriously damage a person’s reputation on top of more formal consequences.  For more information, please review The Student Code of Conduct and Discipline.  

An interactive “fun” tool with more information about plagiarism can be found here:  You Quote it you Note it! 

The Library also has a great Avoiding Plagiarism study tool.  It might be a great idea to go over these resources and tips with your class before an assignment.

  • Last Updated Jan 14, 2021
  • Views 51
  • Answered By Heather Buffett

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