Topics / Computer Ethics / Copyright and Plagiarism

Copyright and Plagiarism

When looking at intellectual property rights we need to consider two key areas, copyright and plagiarism.


Plagiarism occurs when a person takes another person’s ideas/work and claims it as their own.

Although in itself not a criminal offence, such actions are certainly not ethical.

To avoid accusations of plagiarism it is important to acknowledge the originator in any work, e.g. as footnotes or as references.

In certain situations, people or organisations guilty of plagiarism may find they face prosecution under copyright laws.


Copyright laws were created to protect the interests of the authors of original work.

Without protection, it wouldn’t be in the financial interest of people to invest so much of their time creating original content or work.

It is only right (ethical) that people receive fair compensation (pay) for their efforts.

Copyright can apply to a wide range of media, including music, software, images, books etc.

Unlike plagiarism, breaking copyright is a criminal offence.

It is important to remember that just because something is online, or because you’re unlikely to get caught, doesn’t make it free to use or okay.

Topics / Computer Ethics / Copyright and Plagiarism

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