Plagiarism and copyright are very common amongst both students and teachers. It is easy to take a picture from online and include it in your presentation without crediting the owner. But it doesn’t make it right. Many teachers struggle to include a teaching component of plagiarism and copyright in their lessons. As teachers, we need to not only be educating our students but educating ourselves on how to credit various forms of media and information to avoid plagiarism and ensure fair use of work.
Plagiarism is defined as taking someone else’s work and claiming it as your own; whereas copyright allows the owner to prevent others from using their material without permission (All Right to Copy, n.d). These ideas are important to understand and be aware of because the owner of the work should be able to control if they give permission for others to use their ideas or work, especially if there are monetary amounts involved in the copyright licenses. A piece of media is copyrighted for 70 years either from the date it was released or the date the owner dies (depending on the medium) (All Right to Copy, n.d). Beyond this time, the work becomes public and anyone can use it without prior permission.
Often there are various stipulations with licenses for copyright. Creative Commons clearly outlines the various licenses using symbols or by including text to explain the type of license. Licenses may ask the user to give attribution, allow the content to be remixed, not use for commercial use or not allow for any variations (Creative Commons, 2014).
There are so many skills that students need to learn other than just ‘do not plagiarize’ and ‘cite your source’. Students need to understand how to find good sources, how to take notes, how to summarize, how to inject their opinion and perspective into their writing and support it with facts. These skills need to be scaffolded throughout the years of schooling so that students can feel confident using information from various sources to create their own content.
Whether you are using videos, text, images or music, indicating when it's’ other’s work ensures that the owner is properly credited and resources are used fairly.
Some resources to support teachers and students about copyright and plagiarism include:
Copyright Advisory Group. (n.d). All Right to Copy? Retrieved from: http://ar2c.smartcopying.edu.au/
Creative Commons. (2014). About the licenses. Retrieved from: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/