What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the form of cheating you may hear referred to most often. It is defined as stealing another person's ideas and presenting them as though they were your own. Examples include:

  • Submitting assignments downloaded from the internet
  • Commissioning another person to produce a piece of work without acknowledgement
  • Copying from a text-book, journal article, thesis, essay or website without providing adequate reference to the author
  • Reproducing original artwork, designs, film, sound or performance and presenting them as though they were your own
  • Copying someone else’s essay, programme, database, web-page or multimedia presentation without acknowledging their work


Throughout your studies, you will be encouraged to reference the work of other artists, writers, designers or performers in your work. Tutors will expect to find reference to the sources of your ideas in supporting documentation such as sketchbooks or initial drafts. This is an essential and valuable part of your education. As long as the source of the ideas is acknowledged, this is not plagiarism.

What is copyright?

Copyright is the legal protection given to the creator of an original piece of work, enabling them to control the way in which their work is used and reproduced.

Copyright protection is automatic – it does not need to be registered or proved – so long as the piece of work is original (not a facsimile copy of another work) and is recorded in some tangible form.


Who owns copyright?

 When someone creates an original work, they ‘own’ it, and unless they choose to sell this exclusive right, they control who can make copies of this work and how these copies are made.

 The main exception is where work is produced in the course of employment – in this case the employer generally owns the copyright of work created by the employee in the course of his or her employment unless specific contractual arrangements have been made. 

 In terms of the College’s regulations, the College also holds copyright to any artefacts students produce in the course of their studies whilst enrolled at the College. Please refer to the College Handbook for more information.


Why is copyright important?

 According to the Copyright Licence Agency, copyright is important ‘because it protects the interests of:

  • those who create, and
  • those who invest in creativity.

 If copyright did not exist, it would be impossible for creative people to make a living from their creativity.

What is covered by copyright?

 The following works are covered by Copyright:

  • Literary works, including books, journals and newspapers
  • Moving and stills pictures, including films, broadcasts and cable programmes
  • Sculptures
  • Music and sound recordings
  • Paintings
  • Computer programmes and electronic publications
  • Typographical arrangement or "layout" of a published edition

Therefore copyright is not restricted to printed works. It protects the creators of original works in different types of media and formats including text, graphics, films and sound - in other words*,* if you can access something via a computer, it is probably covered by copyright!


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