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Copyright: Copyright v. Plagiarism

Academic Pledge

St. Joseph's College Pledge of Academic Integrity


We, the members of the St. Joseph's College Community, commit ourselves to academic integrity. We promise to pursue the highest ideals of academic life, to challenge ourselves with the most rigorous standards, to be honest in any academic endeavor, to conduct ourselves responsibly and honorably, and to assist one another as we live and work in mutual support.


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Copyright v. Plagiarism

It is common to be confused about the difference between copyright and plagiarism.  These are different concepts with different ramifications.  It is important to understand the meaning and implication of both terms.


  • Copyright infringement is a violation of federal copyright law.  It usually involves the copying, distributing, or performing of a work you do not own, without permission or without an exception to copyright law. Proper citation of a work will not protect you against an infringement action.  Anyone who violates copyright law could be subject to civil and/or criminal damages or penalties.
  • Plagiarism is not a violation of the law. It is a violation of a practice or policy accepted within a literary or scholarly setting.  Most commonly, plagiarism refers to not properly citing or acknowledging sources.  St. Joseph’s College has an Academic Integrity policy that students are expected to follow.

Avoid Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism: 

Plagiarism is defined as...

"the act of copying, stealing, or representing the ideas or words
of another as one's own, without giving credit to the source."

  (from our Student Handbook



There are several different types of plagiarism; these include:

  • Paraphrasing the words of another withoud documenting the source
  • Summarizing the words of another without documenting the source
  • Blatantly "cutting and pasting" information from the Internet or copying words verbatim from a print source and inserting them into your research paper.
  • Turning in another student's paper as your own.
  • Purchasing and turning in a canned research paper

If you plagiarize here at St. Joseph's College:

  • You are failing to uphold the school's pledge of Academic Integrity
  • Doing something that is unethical
  • Cheating yourself of the opportunity to learn and to apply the skills necessary to do well in your career
  • Missing the opportunity to practice and hone your research and writing
  • Risk leaving SJC without a degree

Consequences of Plagiarism:

The student handbook states that all forms of academic dishonesty "are subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may result in a reduction of grade, failure in the course, suspension, or expulsion."


Check the "Citing Sources" tab for information on plagiarism and proper use of citations.

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Dan Murphy's picture
Dan Murphy
Callahan Library
25 Audubon Ave.
Patchogue, NY 11772
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