Skip to Main Content

Copyright Information: For Students

Information for faculty and students

Using and Citing Sources: Avoiding Plagiarism and Respecting Copyright

Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement: know the differenceBook Stack

Plagiarism is using creative work without attribution (giving proper credit). Plagiarism is using someone else's words (or other creative output) and not giving them proper credit, suggesting that the words are your own. We cite sources to avoid plagiarism and provide attribution for quotations and paraphrasing in our work.

Copyright infringement is using creative work without permission. Copyright infringement happens whenever we use someone else's creative work without their permission. Does that mean that, every time we quote someone in our papers, we need to ask for their permission?  No.  This is because the copyright law has a concept called fair use built into it. More information is provided about fair use through this guide, but the kind of quoting that you would do in a paper would nearly always be a fair use.

So, it is possible to plagiarize without infringing copyright. It is also possible to infringe copyright without plagiarizing. 

Class Presentations, Web Images, and Photocopying

Almost any use of images, video, or audio is allowed in class presentations made in face-to-face classes in a classroom setting. This broad exception does not apply to copying and distributing text, so doing something like photocopying an article might not be allowed.  

Showing Movies



We are often asked by students or student clubs if it is okay to show a movie.

There are two contexts in which you could show a movie without public performance rights (the license that allows you to show a movie legally in public when you are not the copyright owner):

  • In your private home (as long as you're not opening it to the general public or charging admission).
  • In a classroom as part of a class.

For virtually all other showings, you will need have public performance rights in order to show a movie.

Legal Disclaimer and Creative Commons Licensing

Legal Disclaimer:  The information provided in this guide is for general reference purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice of any kind. If you require advice in relation to any specific copyright issues, you should consult an appropriate legal professional about your particular situation.

Creative Commons License

This page was created using material from Portland Community College Library's page, Copyright Resources, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.