In addition, copyright does not protect things that are not attributable to a creator, such as facts.
The exception in those cases is that copyright may protect the method of expression that conveys those things.
For example, an idea that is written down, a book of fiction that contains a verifiable fact, or a diagram of a specific method of operation, may all be protected by copyright law.
One of the most important aspects of copyright is that it protects both published and unpublished works.
For example, if you write a book but never have it published, and no one but you ever even reads it, your work is still protected by copyright law. As soon as you put pen to paper, brush to canvas, or fingers to keyboard, and create something original, it is copyrighted.
You don't have to, but it's a good idea to add the copyright symbol to the things you create.
Not having the symbol doesn't mean content isn't still protected by copyright.
Learn more in this easy-to-understand video: Sadly, plagiarism is a common occurrence in schools across the country, and around the world.
It's frequently discovered in high schools, colleges and universities, and even graduate-level schools and programs.
Why, in learning institutions that encourage original thought and the sharing of ideas, do so many students plagiarize?
Everyone sometimes takes on more than they can handle. But it's going to become even more difficult if you're caught plagiarizing. Over time, as the Internet has grown and become a primary source for information for so many people, it can be easy to think that much of it is freely available, there for the taking.
And of course everyone prefers to spend their time doing fun things. But all information has to come from somewhere, has to have a source.
Information does not simply appear on the Internet.
It's placed there, either by the people who created it, or the organizations that curated it.
Work created by someone is intellectual property, and it's protected by United States and international copyright law.
Plagiarizing a paper or other writing assignment means it can be completed more quickly when there's no real research or original thought involved, freeing up time for other assignments and work.
And let's be honest -- for some, it's a matter of laziness.
It's easier to copy someone else's work than to put in the time and effort to create something of your own.
Then you can do the things schoolwork is keeping you from, such as going out with friends, playing sports, sleeping, playing video games, whatever it is you want to do.
All of these things are understandable -- but not excusable. Everyone feels overwhelmed from time to time, whether in school, at work, or at home.
The Internet has brought the issue of copyright to the forefront like nothing else in history.
The ease and speed with which people can share digital information has also made it very easy to commit copyright infringement, intentionally or not.
In this guide, we cover copyright, plagarism, and the DMCA with specific references and insights for students.
As a student, you have terabytes of data available literally at your fingertips, which makes project research and paper writing easier than they've ever been before.
But it also means you must be more aware of copyright rules in order to avoid violating them.
One answer may be the pressure students face to get good grades, or to get into certain colleges or programs.
It can be easy to feel that those goals can't be left to chance, and copying existing work creates more of a sure situation. A bad grade is like money wasted, whether you're paying for your education, or someone else is.
On that note, students who attend universities on scholarships may not be able to afford bad grades, or they run the risk of losing those scholarships.
That's a scary thought, especially for those who can't afford to pay for school themselves.
It may also be that students feel overwhelmed, especially in college or specialty programs such as law school or medical school where the course loads can be daunting, and the expectations extremely high.
Before you can successfully avoid committing copyright infringement, you must first understand what copyright is, and how it works.
Rather than indicating ownership, which is a common misconception, copyright instead provides protection to the creators of, as the U. Copyright Office states, "original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression." Copyright isn't provided on the whim of the original author, either -- it's law. Other countries have similar counterparts, and while the actual laws and regulations may differ to a degree, the basic premise is the same.
In the United States, copyright law is administered by the U. You're probably already aware that copyright protection is extended to things like books and photographs, but the list doesn't end there.
Other types of work protected by copyright include, but are not limited to: poetry, software, music, plays, songs, novels and other literary works, audio recordings, and even architecture.