Ethical Use of Information

What is Copyrighted?

Imagine that you've written a book or a piece of music or crafted an original digital image. 

What is covered by copyright

As soon as it is in tangible form -- which may include anything written on paper, saved to disk (web pages, graphics on the web, email messages or computer programs), or saved on any audio/video device -- your creation is covered by copyright law and is your intellectual property.

Using someone else's work

Any time someone else's work is used, it is ethical to give credit to the original creator.  This takes the form of a citation which indicates who the original creator is and where the item was found.

When using someone else's work in your own without giving credit, you are essentially indicating that you created it.  This is called plagiarism.

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Using Media

Media such as photographs, video, and sound are all protected by copyright -- even when available 'freely' on the Internet.

The Center for Social Media has gathered Best Practices for using media in your work.


Need help with using media in your course?  Check out this resource:

Interactive Guide to Using Copyrighted Media in Your Course (Baruch College)

What is 'ethics'?


1. Moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior.

2. The moral correctness of specified conduct.

What Does Copyright Protect?

Copyright law says that copyright holders ONLY may do the following things with their created work:

Fair Use is a clause in copyright law that allows non-profit educational insititutions and libraries the ability to do the above things with someone else's copyrighted work, within specific guidelines.

Copyright Tutorials

Additional information can be found in these excellent tutorials:

Copyright Crash Course (University of Texas)

Copyright 101 (Bringham Young University)


Learn about Fair Use

Students at non-profit, public educational institutions can make use of the educational Fair Use doctrine written into copyright law. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, and scholarship. 


The Fair Use doctrine generally allows students to:

The following are not covered by the Fair Use doctrine:


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Fair Use Video

A thoroughly entertaining view of Fair Use!

What is 'Public Domain'?

Wikapedia has an excellent entry which explains the concept of public domain.  Basically ideas, information, and works enter the public domain and can be freely used when they are no longer covered as intellectual property by copyright law.

The American Library Association presents a handy tool -- Digital Copyright Slider -- to help determine if something is covered by copyright law.

Cornell University provides extensive information on Copyright Term and the Public Domain.

Academic Dishonesty

What is academic dishonesty?


What happens if I get caught plagiarizing?


Want to know more about the California State University, Channel Islands, policy on academic dishonesty?

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Citation help

Need more help?

Stop by the library to look at the official style manuals.

Visit the University Writing Center and take advantage of their services!

Citation by type of material

Check out the Broome Library's citation guides for help formatting your citations.