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The Differences between Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement

Differences between Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement
Plagiarism Copyright Infringement
What is it? Plagiarism occurs when you use someone else's words or ideas without giving credit to the original author.

Copyright infringement can occur if you do any of the following things without permission of the copyright owner:

(1) Reproduce or make copies of the work
(2) Distribute copies of the work
(3) Create a derivative work
(4) Display the work publicly 
(5) Perform the work publicly 

What rules govern it? Texas A&M University follows ethical codes regarding academic integrity, which prohibit plagiarism and other misconduct. Copyright and penalties for copyright infringement are governed by federal, and in some cases, state law.
Who enforces the rules?

Professors, academic units, and institutions as a whole may enforce a variety of penalties for plagiarism.


At A&M, alleged infractions are referred to the Aggie Honor System Office for investigation and disciplinary action.

A copyright owner or his/her authorized agent may bring a claim of copyright infringement. Claims of copyright infringement may be settled in or out of court between the copyright owner and the alleged infringer. An expensive lawsuit could result, where a judge or jury determines whether infringement has occurred and if so, what the penalty may be.
How can I avoid it?

Use quotation marks and ellipses when  quoting directly from another source. When you summarize or paraphrase material, restate it in your own words. Whether quoting or paraphrasing, always credit the source!


Contact the Writing Center at A&M for assistance and/or ask your instructor to review your assignment before turning it in if you have questions or concerns about plagiarism.


There are many options for using copyrighted material without infringing, including:

(1) Complying with existing license terms or terms of use if available

(2) Requesting permission from the copyright owner to use the work

(3) Get help determining whether your use falls under a statutory exception, such as Fair Use

Source:  Ohio State University Libraries (2018). What's the Difference between Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement? [web page]. Retrieved from