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Plagiarism and Copyright

A brief overview of how to avoid plagiarism and copyright infringement

About this guide

In an academic context, it's important to learn how to analyse the sources of ideas and give due credit to originial authors. If you use the words or ideas of someone else by quoting them directly, paraphrasing their work or important ideas you must acknowledge where material has been borrowed, and provide your audience with the information necessary to find the source. See the MIE Library APA 7 referencing guide for more information on citing and referencing using APA Citation Style. 

The information on this page is from a very useful website called

What is plagiarism?

It's important to note that plagiarism isn't always intentional, but you're still responsible for the work you produce. All of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • turning in someone else’s work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not 

Tips on avoiding plagiarism

The following are excellent general resources which you can download from but remember to consult your tutor and MIE guidelines/course handbooks for advice regarding institutional and course-specific advice.

Retrieved August 25th, 2017 from <>


Glossary of plagiarism terms

the acknowledgement that something came from another source. The following sentence properly attributes an idea to its original author: Jack Bauer, in his article "Twenty-Four Reasons not to Plagiarize," maintains that cases of plagiarists being expelled by academic institutions have risen dramatically in recent years due to an increasing awareness on the part of educators.
a list of sources used in preparing a work
a short, formal indication of the source of information or quoted material; the act of quoting material or the material quoted.
information that is readily available from a number of sources or so well-known that its sources do not have to be cited. The fact that carrots are a source of Vitamin A is common knowledge, and you could include this information in your work without attributing it to a source. However, any information regarding the effects of Vitamin A on the human body are likely to be the products of original research and would have to be cited.
a law protecting the intellectual property of individuals, giving them exclusive rights over the distribution and reproduction of that material.
notes at the end of a paper acknowledging sources and providing additional references or information.
knowledge or information based on real, observable occurrences. Just because something is a fact does not mean it is not the result of original thought, analysis, or research. Facts can be considered intellectual property as well. If you discover a fact that is not widely known nor readily found in several other places, you should cite the source.
the guidelines for deciding whether the use of a source is permissible or constitutes a copyright infringement.
notes at the bottom of a paper acknowledging sources or providing additional references or information.
a product of the intellect, such as an expressed idea or concept, that has commercial value.
not derived from anything else; new and unique; markedly departing from previous practice; the first, preceding all others in time; the source from which copies are made.
a restatement of a text or passage in other words. It is extremely important to note that changing a few words from an original source does NOT qualify as paraphrasing. A paraphrase must make significant changes in the style and voice of the original while retaining the essential ideas. If you change the ideas, then you are not paraphrasing -- you are misrepresenting the ideas of the original, which could lead to misunderstandings.
the reproduction or appropriation of someone else's work without proper attribution; passing off as one's own the work of someone else.
the absence of copyright protection; belonging to the public so that anyone may copy or borrow from it.
using the exact words from another source.
copying material you have previously produced and passing it off as a new production. This can potentially violate copyright protection if the work has been published and is banned by most academic policies.
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