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The United States copyright laws are designed to prevent people from
copying and distributing other people's work without permission. This
includes both paper copies (i.e., photocopies, typewritten copies,
etc.) and electronic copies (scanned or uploaded).
In an academic setting there is a fair use exception to the
permission requirement, but it is only available if you meet the
guidelines. If you do not meet the guidelines, permission must be
Fair Use is a doctrine of the United States
copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted works without
seeking permission typically for the purposes of criticism, comment,
news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. In determining
whether or not use of a copyrighted work is fair the following factors
should be considered:
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is
of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiated of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
- and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of
the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not
itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon
consideration of all the above factors.
- Plagiarism Court: You Be the Judge
by the DiMenna-Nyselius Library at Fairfield University, this tutorial
will explain what plagiarism is, and will briefly discuss its legal and
ethical consequences. Most importantly, it will suggest notetaking,
documentation, and writing strategies to help you avoid accidental
- You Quote It, You Note It
by the Vaughan Memorial Library at Acadia University, this tutorial
suggests that researching ethically is also researching efficiently.
You will not only learn how to avoid plagiarism, but you’ll also pick
up some good research tips too.
Plagiarism Resource Pages
If you cannot meet the photocopying guidelines, then you must get
permission to copy and distribute the work. Requests should be sent on
letterhead, together with a self-addressed return envelope, to the
Permissions department of the publisher or proprietor in question.
Include in the request:
- A complete description of the material to be used including author, title, editor, compiler, translator, and edition.
- The exact portion of the material, pages, and a photocopy if possible
- A description of how it will be used, including how many times, the
number of people it will be distributed to, under what conditions (i.e.
on or off campus, on-line course...)
- How the material will be reproduced (photocopy, off-set, digitized, etc.)
- A place for the recipient to sign to indicate that permission has been granted.
The Copyright Clearance Center
(CCC) also has the right to grant permission and collect fees for
photocopying rights for certain publications. It is often the fastest
and most efficient way to obtain permissions.
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