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Copyright & Plagiarism

Statement On Copyright

Section 8 of the First Article of the United States Constitution grants Congress the power "to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries". In other words, the United States government has the power to make and enforce patent and copyright laws.

The copyright law of the United States is embodied in Title 17 of the United States Code. The library office has a complete copy of this section of American law on file for reference. For specific answers, you may also refer to The Copyright Primer for Librarians and Educators by Janis H. Bruwelheide (Ref. Z 649 .F35 B78 1995), or Copyright Basics, which is made available by the U.S. Copyright Office.

Notice: The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies of copyrighted material.


Question: What is copyrighted?
Answer: Assume that everything is copyrighted except United States government publications. However, even references to US government publications should be cited properly.

Q: Does this include unpublished works such as theses and dissertations?
A: Yes. Unpublished works have the same copyright protection as published works.

Q: Am I allowed to quote text from a book in my papers?
A: Yes. However, you must give proper credit to the author with quotation formatting. Quote sparingly, as your papers are supposed to be your own work. For information on proper citation formats, go here.

Biblical's Policy On Plagiarism

To plagiarize is "To steal or purloin and pass off as one's own (ideas, writings, etc., of another)" (Webster's new collegiate dictionary, 1953). Plagiarism is theft. Not putting the definition above within quotation marks, not crediting Webster's (via the text citation), or changing a word (e.g., "claim" or "pass off") and presenting the definition as your own would all be plagiarism. In other words, plagiarism is using someone else's material without giving that person credit. Other forms of plagiarism include mixing unmarked quotations with your own words and putting a single reference at the end of the paragraph, buying a paper from a term paper service (from any source, including one of those online), turning in a paper written by a student who already took the course, or having someone else write your paper. If in doubt, ask your professor or the library staff before you turn it in. Any paper containing plagiarized material will receive a zero (0%). You may appeal this policy to the faculty, who could forgive you or discipline you further by failure for the course or even expulsion from the school.

As a rule of thumb, if an idea originates with another person or your original thought is a response to another's idea, you must credit the people who influenced your thinking with a proper citation, whether the idea is published or not.

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