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What Constitutes Plagiarism

“Believe it or not….. Changing the words of an original source is not sufficient to prevent plagiarism. If you have retained the essential idea of an original source, and have not cited it, then no matter how drastically you may have altered its context or presentation, you have still plagiarized. ”

Scholarly authors generously acknowledge their debts to predecessors by carefully giving credit to each source. Whenever one draws on another’s work, one must specify what has been borrowed – whether facts, opinions, or quotations – and its source. Using another person’s ideas or expressions in writing without acknowledging the source constitutes plagiarism. Derived from the Latin plagiarius (“kidnapper”), plagiarism refers to a form of intellectual theft. In short, to plagiarize is to give the impression that the author wrote or thought something that in fact was borrowed from someone else, and to do so is a violation of professional ethics. (Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. 2nd ed., New York: MLA, 1998: 151).


Avoiding Plagiarism

Since plagiarism can be a temptation for those students who are facing an imminent deadline, students can use the following procedures that may help to ensure a project is properly documented.

This is what must be referenced:

Failure to abide by these guidelines could be considered a violation of La Salle University’s Academic Integrity Policy. Please refer to the complete La Salle University Student Guide to Resources, Rights, and Responsibilities.

For more information on plagiarism and for more information on the issues briefly described here, please visit


Copyright Owners Legal Rights

Copyright is a way for creators of “original works of authorship” to protect their rights. The basic meaning of copyright is the right to copy. Copyright owners have the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, or publicly perform or diplay a work. Copyright law in the United States protects:


The United States Copyright Office

The Copyright Office is also an office of record, a place where claims to copyright are registered and where documents relating to copyright may be recorded when the requirements of the copyright law are met. The Copyright Office furnishes information about the provisions of the copyright law and the procedures for making registration, explains the operations and practices of the Copyright Office, and reports on facts found in the public records of the Office. The Office also administers various compulsory licensing provisions of the law, which include collecting royalties.

Additionally, the Copyright Office and the Library of Congress administer the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panels, which meet for limited times for the purpose of adjusting rates and distributing royalties.


Fair Use of Copyrighted Material

The fair use section of United States copyright law allows copyrighted work for use in criticism, commenting, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

When determining whether or not a copyright protected work is being used for fair use, consider the following:


The Public Domain

According to the United States Copyright Office: “A work of authorship is in the “public domain” if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.”

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