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Academic Integrity/Ethical Use of Information

What is academic integrity?

The Center for Academic Integrity (CAI) defines academic integrity as “a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility”. 

Why should I care?

  • As a student
  • As a potential writer/publisher/artist
  • As a current or future pastor/church leader
  • As an ethical individual

Copyright, Plagiarism, and Citing Sources

What is copyright?

The following section is an overview of copyright and not comprehensive and is not legal advice. See the list of copyright resources at the end of this information.

Copyright protection is provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works and includes widely available material such as that posted on the Web.​

What is “Copyrightable Expression”?

  • Original authorship, fixed in a tangible medium of expression.
  • Poetry; prose
  • Computer programming
  • Artwork, choreography
  • Recorded music and/or song animations
  • Architectural drawings; photographs.

What are a copyright owner’s rights?

  • Reproduction of the work
  • Distribution of copies of the work
  • Making of “derivative” works
  • Public performance
  • Public display

When is a work “Copyrighted”?

  • As soon as an original work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression
  • Registration is NOT required
  • Publication is NOT required
  • Copyright notice, ©, is NOT required for works created after 3/1/89

What isn’t copyrightable?

  • Mere facts
  • Exact duplications of public domain works
  • Works created by employees of the Federal Government
  • Titles and short phrases
  • Forms that only collect information (rather than provide information).
  • Logos and slogans
    • Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these may be protected as trademarks.

How long does it last?

  • As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years
  • However, it can get more complicated.  For more information, see the U.S. Copyright Office’s circular 15a – Duration of Copyright in the list at the end of this page.

What happens when a work is no longer protected?

It becomes a public domain work.

What is Public Domain?

  • Generic information, such as facts, numbers and ideas.
  • Works whose copyrights have lapsed due to the passage of time or the failure of the copyright holder to renew a registration (a requirement that applies to works created before 1978).
  • Works created prior to March 1989 that failed to include a proper notice of copyright.
  • Works created by the U.S. federal government.
  • Also, in rare instances, works may be "dedicated" (donated) to the public domain.
  • Works published before 1923.
  • A detailed chart of copyright term and public domain is in the list at the end of this page.

Are out-of-print books public domain?

Not necessarily - it’s always best to find out.

What is copyright infringement?

Occurs when someone other than the copyright owner exercises any of these rights:

  • Photocopying
  • Uploading to websites
  • Copying software
  • Sharing MP3 files
  • Musical performances
  • Public film exhibitions

What are the penalties for infringement?

Copyright infringement is serious. It can result in significant civil damages, injunction, and/or criminal penalties. As an example, willful infringement can result in statutory damages of up to $100,000. The infringer may also be liable for attorneys' fees and costs. There are companies that act as agents for the copyright owners. These companies have employees that spend their time traveling the country to discover unauthorized use and collect license fees, so proceeding without permission or license is both unwise and illegal.
Are there exceptions?

  • Fair Use
  • Education/Classroom Exemptions
  • Library Exemptions
  • Performance Exceptions
  • Permission

What are the Fair Use Factors?

  • What is the character of the use?
  • What is the nature of the work to be used?
  • How much of the work will you use?
  • What effect would this use have on the market for the original or for permissions if the use were widespread?

What are copyright issues for churches and worship services?

  • Copying/using music without permission
  • Showing videos/movies without authorization
  • Sermons
  • Use of clip art, files, quotes, etc. in newsletters, on church websites, etc.

What is Religious Services Exemption?

  • Exempts from copyright infringement performance of nondramatic literary or musical works or of dramatico-musical works of a religious nature, in the course of services at a place of worship or other religious assembly.
  • This exemption does not extend to copying the music or to audio or video taping of the performance.

What is Intellectual Property?

  • Refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.
  • Industrial property
  • Patents, trademarks, etc.

What is Plagiarism?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines plagiarism as the wrongful appropriation or purloining, and publication as one's own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas (literary, artistic, musical, mechanical, etc.) of another.

 “In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.”  August 5, 2009.

Plagiarism may occur in a variety of ways. Sometimes, the act of plagiarizing is intentional and sometimes, it may be due to a lack of awareness or knowledge.  Thus, it is important to know what constitutes plagiarism. Not knowing does not mean that it isn’t plagiarism.

Examples of plagiarism:

  • Buying, stealing or borrowing a paper.
  • Cutting and pasting from a website or other source.
  • Quoting or paraphrasing without giving proper credit.
  • Using someone else’s ideas, phrases, data, etc. without attribution or credit.

When is it not plagiarism?

  • When it’s common knowledge.
  • When referring to your own opinions, life experiences, or creations.
  • When using “generally accepted” facts.
  • When you’ve given proper attribution or credit.
  • When you’ve used correct citation format.

How do I cite sources?

  • Keep track of your sources as you do your research. These may include but are not limited to books, journals, websites, magazine articles, and interviews. You will want to have at least the following information:
    • Name of author (-s) or Editor (-s)
    • Title (including subtitle)
    • Place of publication
    • Date of publication (copyright)
    • Name of publisher or publishing body
    • Page numbers
  • Use a style manual or guide. These are generally specified by your academic institution. Your institution may also have a style guide of its own.
  • There are also a number good websites on how to cite sources; electronic sources, in particular. These follow below, under “Resources for Citing Sources”.