Copyright v Plagiarism

Herrington explains the significant difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism in Chapter 4 of Intellectual Property on Campus,  copyright infringement protect the method that an idea is expressed and plagiarism is when someone claims authorship to an idea that isn’t theirs (Herrington 82). I understand one example of the difference as follows: If the Lucky Charms cereal brand copyrights the slogan “They’re magically delicious”, they have indisputable further authorship rights to that company slogan. That is the way they’ve chosen to express that idea. Plagiarism would be for an off-brand cereal company called for example, Unfortunate Quips to claim that they have the rights to the idea’s origination. Obviously infractions like this one are important to the legal aspect of plagiarism and copyright infringement. But the intellectual property in the academia sphere is presently more applicable to me.

As for the difference between the two concepts in an academic setting, it is possible to plagiarize without violating copyright and to violate copyright infringement without plagiarizing. According to Herrington, reproducing a product found in a public domain even when it isn’t copyrighted is an example of plagiarism (Herrington 107). The inverse case of a copyright violation without plagiarizing begins with duplicating or using products in a public space without receiving appropriate permission, even when attributing credit (Herrington 107). An example of this would be the html coding people used to decorate their Myspace profiles. Myspace is a public social media website and any images borrowed websites that did not give specific permission to be used for such purposes were violating copyright. These violations happen so frequently that my guess would be the vast majority of social media users have committed copyright violations, and have absolutely no idea that they’re doing it.


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