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Avoiding Plagiarism

It is easy to cut and paste images, audio files, video, and text directly from one Web page to another, making copyright law violations and plagiarism a big problem on the Web. You may have made personal Web pages in the past without worrying about copyrights and plagiarism, but for all academic work that you do (including TRIO Sites website entries), follow the four guidelines below.

Guidelines for avoiding online plagiarism and copyright law violations

1. Use original material whenever possible.
Create your own graphics, audio, and video. Come up with your own material rather than modifying what someone else has already written, illustrated, or performed.

2. Get permission before using text, audio, images, or video from other sources.
This is especially important for copyrighted material, since there are laws to protect it against unauthorized reproduction and modification. See our TRIO Quest rules for rules to follow when using images, video, and audio created by someone else. Our Obtaining Permissions and Citing Permissions pages will help you with the permissions process.

3. Cite all sources used.
This gives credit to the source of the information and provides Web users a way to verify the information is correct. Use parenthetic citations for each piece of information from another source, and a works cited list. Once you have obtained permission for multimedia materials, be sure to credit the author and cite the permission as well. See our page on Citing Sources in MLA Style and play the Citation Game.

4. Put it in your own words.
Do not "cut and paste" or copy directly from a source to your Web site. Use quotation marks when appropriate and paraphrase. Be sure to cite the sources you have paraphrased from.

Copyright and Plagiarism Resources

The following links provide more information on copyright law, citations, and avoiding plagiarism. Research Resources
A simple guide for students to learn how to avoid plagiarism and use correct citations.

The TEACH Act ToolKit
The Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act passed into law November 2, 2002 created new guidelines for the use of copyrighted materials in distance education.

UC Davis - How to Avoid Plagiarism
Quick guide for students on citing sources and avoiding plagiarism.

Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It
Examples of acceptable & unacceptable paraphrases.