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Plagiarism Sites

March 12, 2008 Leave a comment

This week has been tough. I’ve been on overdrive for the past few days, adjusting to changes at work, keeping up with whatever the family is doing, and packing for vacation. This is the first vacation that my husband and I have taken in years. I am so looking forward to it….Anyway, before I left for vacation, I wanted to share with you a few more thoughts on plagiarism. Sharon Stoerger gathered some great articles on plagiarism and the college environment. http://www.web-miner.com/plagiarism

You might also visit Jonathan Bailey’s blog dedicated to plagiarism issues. He found ten things you should know about copyright on the US Copyright Office website. http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2008/02/28/10-basics-about-
copyright-everyone-needs-to-know/

Ten Facts About Copyright

In order to speed up this process and make this information easier to digest, I’ve broken down the facts into ten short explanations with links to more information if desired.

  1. Copyright Is Immediate: Copyright in a work is created once it is fixed into a tangible medium of expression. Though added legal avenues can be opened by registering the work with the Copyright Office, there are no formalities needed to obtain copyright in a work, including placing the copyright symbol.
  2. Copyright Protects a Set of Rights: Copyright is not just about the exclusive right to copy, it also provides the copyright holder with a sole right to publicly display a work, to publicly perform the work and create derivative works. Doing any of these things without the permission of the rightsholder is likely to be an infringement.
  3. Copyright Lasts a Really Long Time: In the United States, copyright in a personal creation lasts the life of the author plus seventy years. In corporate works, the term is a flat 95 years. After that term expires, the work passes into the public domain.
  4. Copyright Does Not Protect Many Things: Copyright protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. It also, typically, does not protect titles of a work, systems, concepts and anything that has not been fixed into a permanent medium. Finally, all works that are in the public domain are not protected by copyright and can be used freely.
  5. Not All Copying is Prevented: Though copyright gives the author of a work the sole right to produce copies, not all copying is prohibited. Fair use allows limited copying of a work “for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research.”
  6. Fair Use is a Defense, Not a Right: Legally speaking, fair use is not a right, it is a defense against a copyright infringement suit (see footnote 20). Fair use rights do not exist and a whether or not a use is fair or not can only be determined conclusively by a judge/jury after the case has gone to the courts.
  7. Work For Hire is Limited: Though, in most cases, copyright in the work transfers to the author, in some cases it can transfer to the employer. Those cases are called “works for hire” and are limited to employees of the company (as recognized by Federal guidelines) and contractors in a limited set of fields that sign a work for hire agreement before the work is created. Most contract work is not a work for hire.
  8. It is Possible to Remove Many Infringing Works on the Web: If you find that your work is being misused on the Web, you can have it removed by filing a DMCA notice with the host. Alternatively, you can file a notice with the search engines and have the the content removed from their indexes. This can be done without an attorney or registering a work.
  9. Benefits of Registration: Though registering your work with the U.S. Copyright Office does not earn you any new rights to your work, it is a prerequisite to filing suit for infringement in a Federal court, it enables you to collect attorney fees and statutory damages, serves as a public record of the copyright and services as prima facie evidence of ownership.
  10. Poor Man’s Copyright is a Myth: Finally, many claim that you can protect a work by mailing it to yourself and using the postmark as proof of copyright. This does not work and no provision of the law exists to make it possible. So-called “Poor Man’s Copyright” is not a substitute for registration.

Cynthia Webb (great name because she is obviously a web reporter for the Washington Post) writes about the blogging ethics debate. Citing a flagarant abuse of copy and pasting, Webb gives a global view how people look at the incident. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A63407-2003Apr9.html

Lastly a blog on foxsports.com from socalsportsfan. He or she defines plagiarism rules for bloggers. http://community.foxsports.com/blogs/socalsportsfan/2006/07/16/Plagiarism   _Rules_What_Every_Blogger_Needs_To_Know

I think I’ve exhausted the plagiarism topic. Bottom line is that if you plagiarize, especially when it is out there for a gazillion people to see, you won’t be the only one that knows that it isn’t your work.

Since I am so challenged by my time management issues, I am going to explore this topic with you next time. I am learning the hard way. Your thoughts on plagiarism or time management are welcome.

I may get an entry in before I leave, but that is wishful thinking. I certainly will be back in ten days.

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