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Beyond Google: Research for College Success

Copyright & Plagiarism


  1. Review and understand common violations of plagiarism
  2. Understand the consequences of plagiarism


Following the above objectives, this last lecture elaborates on last week's readings from the textbook in order for you to better grasp the concepts around the issues of copyright, fair use, and plagiarism.  While there are no readings assigned from the e-textbook for lesson #7, please remember to read Lecture #6 before taking the last and final quiz scheduled for March 8th.

The summaries in the fourth and final draft of your annotated bibliography should be free of plagiarism. This means, as you've come to understand, that the summaries should be written up in your own words.  If and when you use text written by someone else or another organization, I hope you have given credit to them. 

All works selected for your final annotated bibliography should be cited properly.  By now, you should have selected the style you plan to use - APA or MLA? 

Any questions you may have, please do not hesitate to email me or drop by my virtual office hour.   

7.1. Examples of common violations of Plagiarism

Below are some examples of common types of violations: 
Creating a playlist of your favorite songs to sell to guests at a charity event is a violation of copyright. (But, making a playlist of music for yourself is OK!)
Including the artwork from an album by your favorite rapper you found on’s website is a violation of copyright
Including lyrics from rap songs in your research paper without giving credit to the songwriter is a violation of copyright.
Taking a sentence or two from a book without attribution to provide just the right term of phrase to a paper because you can’t think of a way to say it better is a violation of the copyright of the author of the original work.
Taking a unique idea that you’ve read in a journal article, even if you don’t copy the content word for word, and passing the idea off as your own by not providing attribution to the original author is a violation of intellectual property and copyright.
Including a photograph of a work of art meant to illustrate a particular artist's work, or a particular period, without attributing the book/website it came from is also a violation of copyright.
Using an image of the Nike swoosh, and the phrase “Just do it” on a t-shirt as a sign of encouraging people to rush a fraternity or sorority. This is a violation of the Nike trademark.

7.2. Some real life examples of violations...

In March 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that "Peloton, the indoor cycling company, was sued for $150 million for trademark infringement by the National Music Publishers Association representing 14 members, including Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Drake, Bruno Mars, Adele, Gwen Stefani, and more."  Peloton was sued for using over 2,400 songs in the company's video streaming platform without obtaining their permission.  Peloton settled the law suit with the music publishers in February 2020 and it was reported in Variety that they now shared a "joint collaboration agreement and will work together to further optimize Peloton's music-licensing systems and processes." 

Steele, A. (2019, March 20).  Publishers Sue Peloton for use of songs from Drake, Lady Gaga.  Wall Street Journal - Online edition, 1.

Kaavya Viswanathan was nineteen and a freshman at Harvard when she was offered a two-book deal of $500,000.00 to write “chick lit.” Viswanathan wrote a book titled How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life. The book was published in April 2006, and it quickly became a bestseller. DreamWorks bought the rights, planning to produce a film based on the book.  Soon after it was published, however, reports of possible plagiarism surfaced by the university's newspaper, The Crimson.  As reported from the New York Times, "The Crimson cited 13 instances in which Ms. Viswanathan's book closely paralleled Ms. McCafferty's work. But there are at least 29 passages that are strikingly similar."  The book was pulled from the store shelves April 27, 2006,  and the book deal was canceled. Viswanathan apologized, saying that she “must have internalized” those details (from the other author’s books) without realizing it.  She graduated from Harvard and went on to graduate school for law at Georgetown University.
Smith, Dinitia. "Copying Wasn't Intentional, A Harvard Novelist Says." New York Times, 25 Apr. 2006, p. A14(L). New York State Newspapers, Accessed 18 Aug. 2020.

7.3 What happens at CSI re: Plagiarism?

The CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity covers procedures for reporting and penalties for cheating, plagiarism, obtaining unfair advantage, falsification of records and official documents.  With regards to plagiarism, Section 1.2. states: 

Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person's ideas, research or writings as your own. Examples of plagiarism include: •

  • Copying another person's actual words or images without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source.
  • Presenting another person's ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source.
  • Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.
  • Internet plagiarism, including submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the internet without citing the source, or "cutting & pasting" from various sources without proper attribution.

If you are ever accused of plagiarism by an instructor in any one of your courses and you disagree, You should first talk to your instructor and find out the reasons.  If you still disagree with your instructor's perspective, please seek counseling and/or help from the following below: 

  • Academic Integrity Officer
  • Academic Integrity Committee
  • Grade Appeals Committee

7.4 How to Avoid Plagiarism...

1 First, use your own ideas. It should be your paper and your ideas that should be the focus.
2 Use the ideas of others sparingly--only to support or reinforce your own argument.
3 When taking notes, include complete citation information for each item you use.
4 Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words.
5 A good strategy is to take 30 minutes and write a short draft of your paper without using any notes. It will help you think through what you want to say and help prevent your being too dependent upon your sources.

7.5 Is it Plagiarism?

Plagiarism ranges from copying word-for-word to paraphrasing a passage without credit and changing only a few words. Below is a sentence from a book. The original source is followed by its use in three student papers. 

ORIGINAL PASSAGE:   Still, the telephone was only a convenience, permitting Americans to do more casually and with less effort what they had already been doing before. 

Abbie The telephone was a convenience, enabling Americans to do more casually and with less effort what they had already been doing before.  This is plagiarism in its worst form.  Abbie does not indicate that the words and ideas belong to Boorstin, leaving her readers to believe the words are hers.  She has stolen the words and ideas and attempted to cover the theft by changing or omitting an occasional word.
Brian Daniel J. Boorstin argues that the telephone was only a convenience, permitting Americans to do more casually and with less effort what they had already been doing before. Even though Brian acknowledges his source this is plagiarism.  He has copied the original almost word for word, yet he has not supplied the quotation marks to indicate the extent of his borrowing.
Robin Daniel J. Boorstin has noted that most Americans considered the telephone as simply "a convenience," an instrument that allowed them "to do more casually and with less effort what they had already been doing before."2

Sample Foot Note:
1 (Daniel J. Boorstin, The Americans: The Democratic Experience, page 390.
2 Excerpt, examples, and commentary below are from James M. McCrimmon, Writing With A Purpose, page 499.)

Robin has done a good job.  They have identified their source at the beginning of the paragraph, letting readers know what is being quoted and has provided a footnote directing them to the exact source of the statement.  They have paraphrased some of Boorstin's words and quoted others, but makes it clear to the reader which words are their's and which belongs to Boorstin. 

Now, go back to the BlackBoard course site

Please log in to Blackboard to complete the following listed in Lesson #7.  Any assignment,  or tutorial given in this lesson MUST be completed on or before March 18, 2023 by 11:30pm.


  1. Take the post-survey assessment for this course.
  2. Watch and respond to discussion forum about video: "Is it Plagiarism?" - 30 points
  3. Collate three submitted drafts into final annotated bibliography--review and revise for submission on or before March 19, 2023.




CREDIT: With permission, partial content on this web page was adapted from the University of Idaho Information Literacy Portal.