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Counseling and Psychology

Research Guide

Copyright and Plagiarism

Copyright and Plagiarism

Copyright for Students and Researchers

What is copyright?

• Copyright is the right of authors to control the use of their work for a period of time. It is also designed to promote creativity and learning.

• All original work that is fixed in a tangible form of expression is copyrighted, even when it does not include a copyright symbol or notice. This includes — but is not limited to — books, journal articles, web sites, music, photographs, computer programs, and audiovisual materials.

• Copyright is federal law, Title 17 of the United States Code, and it includes penalties for infringement.

• The Copyright Law includes exceptions for teaching, research, scholarship, criticism, comment, and news reporting.

Steps to determine use of material

1. Is the work protected by copyright? Items published in the United States prior to 1923 are in the public domain; they can be used without seeking permission. Items published after 1923 may be protected. Copyrights extend for 70 years after the death of the author. Work produced by the U.S. government is most likely in the public domain.

2. How will the work be used? Incorporating copyrighted material into a paper for class and posting material on a website have different copyright requirements. The broader the access to a work, the more copyright considerations are involved.

3. What exceptions apply? When using copyrighted work, determine if exceptions to the copyright law apply allowing you to use the work without seeking permission. Consult the Fair Use Check List and weigh each factor to make your determination.

4. Is permission needed? When the exceptions do not apply seek permission to use the copyrighted material. It is wise to request the permission in writing and keep all documents associated with your request.

Considerations when preparing papers, dissertations, and theses

• You are both an author and copyright holder of all of your original work, as well as a user of other’s copyrighted works.

• Other’s works and third-party content in your paper must be authorized under the Fair Use exception or used by permission of the rights holder, and you must always give credit to the original author.

• The Seminary will request that you submit dissertations and theses to the Denver Seminary Open Repository and the Theological Research Exchange Network. This allows researchers from around the world to benefit from your research. You will sign an agreement with the Seminary and with TREN for them to accept your work. These non-exclusive licenses only authorize them to disseminate your work as described in the agreement. You retain the copyright.

• If you have further questions about copyright law, please contact the Seminary Library.

Copyright and Plagiarism

Denver Writing Center

Plagiarism is presenting another’s work or one’s own previous work as one's own original academic achievement without proper acknowledgment.

You plagiarize when, intentionally or not, you use someone else’s words or ideas but fail to credit that person, leading your readers to think that those words are yours . . . . In all fields, you plagiarize when you use a source’s words or ideas without citing that source. In most fields, you plagiarize even when you do credit the source but use its exact words without using quotation marks or block indentation . . . . In other fields, you plagiarize when you paraphrase a source so closely that anyone putting your work next to it would see that you could not have written what you did without the source at your elbow.[1]

Plagiarism takes many forms, but all are considered to be a form of taking what belongs to someone else. In the words of the above authors, it is “stealing” and, hence, a breach of ethics and academic integrity. The definition provided above will be used in the examples below to illustrate several forms of plagiarism.

1. Intentional Plagiarism of Words: this is the absence of quotation marks or block quotation with proper reference to the source, as is the case in the following example where the writer prefaces the above material with a couple of introductory words:

ORIGINAL SOURCE

PLAGIARISM

You plagiarize when, intentionally or not, you use someone else's words or ideas but fail to credit that person. You plagiarize even when you do credit the author but use his or her exact words without so indicating with quotation marks or block indentation.

I believe that one plagiarizes when, intentionally or not, you use someone else's words or ideas but fail to credit that person. You plagiarize even when you do credit the author but use his or her exact words without so indicating with quotation marks or block indentation.2

Comment: While the source is footnoted, this example illustrates intentional plagiarism by the lack of quotation marks and/or block formatting.

2 Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 201-2.

2. Intentional Plagiarism of Ideas: this is developing an idea that originates with someone else as a part of one's argument, even when a reference is made to the source, as is the case in the following example:

ORIGINAL SOURCE

PLAGIARISM

You also plagiarize when you use words so close to those in your source. that if your work were placed next to the source, it would be obvious that you could not have written what you did without the source at your elbow.

The "elbow rule" is the norm by which you can check yourself against plagiarism. When you place your writing next to the original and the similarities are so great that it is impossible that you could have written it without the use of a source right in front of you.

Comment: The author does not give credit to the source of his or her idea. It is apparent that he or she has "stolen" it from the original source.

3. Intentional Plagiarism of Papers, Abstracts, etc.: this includes the purchase or copying of someone else's paper, abstract, or thesis and submitting it as if it were one's own.

4. Indirect Plagiarism of Words: this is a paraphrastic use of some else's words, even when loosely reworded; a wording of the material that suggests or implies that it is your own, as is the case in the following example:

ORIGINAL SOURCE

Indirect PLAGIARISM

You plagiarize when, intentionally or not, you use someone else's words or ideas but fail to credit that person. You plagiarize even when you do credit the author but use his exact words without so indicating with quotation marks or block indentation. You also plagiarize when you use words so close to those in your source, that if your work were placed next to the source, it would be obvious that you could not have written what you did without the source at your elbow.

Plagiarism may be intentional or unintentional. Plagiarism is the use of the words or ideas of someone else while not giving credit to the author. Plagiarism even takes place when citing an author while taking over his or her exact words without using quotation marks or block indentation. The test of plagiarism is whether it would be obvious that you could not have written what you did without the source if your work is placed next to the source.

Comment: The paragraph is plagiarized because it is a paraphrastic reworking of the original source without a footnote or parenthetical cite.

Both intentional and unintentional plagiarism are equally serious offenses of the community standards. The latter is, at the very least, an expression of poor scholarship. Carelessness in scholarship is poor scholarship and will not permitted at Denver Seminary.

Further information:

  • Turabian Manual: Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 9th ed. (2018)
    • Guard against Inadvertent Plagiarism (4.2.4)
    • Quoting Accurately and Avoiding Plagiarism (25.1)

  • APA Manual: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (2020)
    • Implications of Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism (1.17)
    • Plagiarism (8.2)
    • Self-Plagiarism (8.3)

 

[1] Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 201-2.

Copyright Fair Use Checklist

This is a Tool to help you determine whether your use of copyright material is fair use. For each of the four sections determine whether the factor favors or disfavors fair use. If less than half of the four factors favor fair use, permission should be obtained before copyright or disseminating copies of the work. When it is split between the sections, weigh each factor to make a determination.

Purpose
Favoring Fair Use
Opposing Fair use

Teaching (including multiple copies for classroom)

Research

Scholarship

Nonprofit educational institution

Criticism

Comment

News reporting

Transformative or productive use (changes the work for new utility)

Restricted access (to students or other appropriate group)

Parody

Commercial activity

Profiting from the use

Entertainment

Bad-faith behavior

Denying credit to original author

Nature
Favoring Fair Use
Opposing Fair Use

Published work

Factual or nonfiction based

Important to favored educational objectives

Unpublished work

Highly creative (art, music, novels, films, plays)

Fiction

Amount
Favoring Fair Use
Opposing Fair Use

Small quantity

Portion used is not central or significant to entire work

Amount is appropriate for educational purpose

Large portion or whole work used

Portion used is central to or the heart of the work

Effect
Favoring Fair Use
Opposing Fair Use

User owns lawfully purchased or acquired copy of original work

One or few copies made

No significant effect on the market or potential market for copyrighted work

No similar product marketed by the copyright holder

Lack of licensing mechanism

Could replace sale of copyrighted work

Significantly impairs market or potential market for copyrighted work or derivative

Reasonably available licensing mechanism for use of the copyrighted work

Affordable permission available for using the work

Numerous copies made

You made it accessible on the Web in a public form

Repeated or long-term use

Permission to use and adapt licensed through Creative Commons (CC). The checklist was created by Kenneth D. Crews (formerly of Columbia University) and Dwayne K. Buttler (University of Louisville).