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Copyright and Plagiarism


Copyright violation, being a federal civil offense, is covered under item 1 of the Student Code of Conduct. This item discusses committing criminal or civil violations while on campus. Copyright violation is the use or reproduction of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. Many people do not understand that this is equivalent to stealing the work, since you are denying the copyright holder an income from their creation.

Examples of copyright violations:

  • Photocopying substantial parts of a work such as a book or magazine.
  • Photocopying sheet music, rather than buying enough copies for everyone in the band or choir.
  • Scanning pictures or photographs from books and magazines to use on your web site.
  • Photocopying more than one copy of an article from a magazine or chapter of a book. As a student, you may make one copy for your own use. You are not permitted to make copies for all your friends and relatives.
  • Copying a piece of software for another person to use, even if you bought the original software.
  • Downloading copyrighted music, copying music from one medium to another (ie. going from CD to tape), copying music within the same medium.
  • Copying videotapes or DVD’s or copying from one medium to another.
  • Making a copy of something you found on another web site (ie. poem, picture, jokes, etc.) and e-mailing it to your friends. (Some judges say that all e-mail is automatically copyrighted. Think about that before forwarding.)
  • For more information on copyright, visit the following websites.
    10 Big Myths about Copyright Explained

    Copyright Basics from the United States Copyright Office


Kirtland discusses plagiarism in item 20 of the Student Code of Conduct. Plagiarism is defined as “including but not limited to, the use, whether by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.” Such an offense is reported by an instructor who also will recommend a sanction, up to and including expulsion.

Plagiarism is academic dishonesty. It includes using the words, ideas and writing of others as if they were your own. To avoid plagiarism, a student must carefully document where the ideas, words and thoughts were found, and who originated them.

Examples of plagiarism:

  • Direct copying from original sources. Most often this involves copying one or two sentences without using quotation marks or offsetting the passage. While quotations are acceptable, too many of them indicate little thought about the topic on your part.
  • Assembling various quotes from a variety of resources and including the correct citations. The majority of a paper or speech should be in your own words, even if you are reporting what you learned. Quotes should be reserved for special occasions, not the whole paper.
  • Paraphrasing, or rewording the sentences, does not change the fact that original ideas are not yours. Paraphrasings should also be cited in the correct way.
  • Submitting someone else’s work. This includes copying whole papers as well as sections of the whole.
  • Failing to provide references. Anytime you present a new fact that is not known to everyone in your field, you must indicate where you found the fact.

At Kirtland, students have access to a software program that will create your bibliography in both MLA and APA styles, called NoodleTools.  It will also show you how to cite sources within the paper.