6. Authorship and Copyright

No Author
Sometimes people assume credit only needs to be given when there is a person, an identifiable author, to credit. However, giving credit simply acknowledges that the source of the ideas, words, etc. that you used came from somewhere outside your own thoughts. It is the source of the idea, words, etc. that receives the credit, not necessarily an individual. You need to cite even if the source doesn’t have an author you can identify.

Self plagiarism
Self plagiarism refers to the use of your own work, or a substantial portion of it, in another course than the one for which it was originally written. While you are not stealing an idea from someone else, it is still considered dishonest unless you have obtained permission from your instructor to reuse the material.

The CSUSM academic regulations consider this problem to be a form of cheating. Specifically, the university states that “Students who are required to do a paper in a course should assume that submitting the same or similar paper to different courses (regardless of whether it is in the same semester or in different semesters) is not permitted without the explicit permission of the instructors of both courses.” (Catalog, 94)

Relationship of Plagiarism with Copyright

People sometimes confuse plagiarism with copyright. Copyright is concerned with whether you have the right to access and use a work. Plagiarism is about whether credit has been given for ideas or words taken from that work. For instance, it may be perfectly fine, as far as copyright goes, to copy a few paragraphs from a book but, if you put these words in your paper without crediting the source, you will have committed plagiarism. The bottom-line is that you are obligated to acknowledge your sources whether or not the work is copyrighted.

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California State University San Marcos 2010-2012. (2010). California State University San Marcos: San Marcos, CA.


Last updated 8/23/2012 by Sue Thompson
contact: sthompsn@csusm.edu