Teaching Commons > Teaching at DePaul > Academic Integrity > Copyright and the Classroom
While plagiarism is largely recognized as copying someone else’s work or ideas without the appropriate attribution and is sanctioned by institutions such as schools and publishers, copyright infringement involves the duplication of an expression or work in a way that violates the law. The following chart explores some of the differences and similarities between plagiarism and copyright:
In the United States, the use of copyrighted materials by those other than the creator or owner is legal in certain, limited situations. Under the
fair use doctrine, copyrighted material can be used for the purposes of teaching, scholarship, or research (among other activities such as criticism, comment, and news reporting). But perhaps the best way to avoid legal complications--especially for any public-facing media properties--is to find media you can use that isn’t subject to copyright.
Much of the content found on the internet is subject to copyright. However, there are tools and resources that can allow you and your students to search for work that is in the public domain or licensed in a way that allows you to use it. For example, if your students are creating public-facing websites, encourage them to search for images they can legally reuse, attribute and incorporate into their own work. The following websites can be used:
DePaul Libraries is host to a number of
digital media collections which are available for educational use. And of course DePaul faculty can request online and shelf materials to be made available to their students through the library’s course reserves.
Creative Commons is a non-profit group that has developed several different
licenses that, at its’ most open, allow people to share, use, and modify the work they produce. You can
search for Creative Commons licensed work using their website or other search providers, including Flickr and Google. Note that even the most open license requires you to attribute the author.
Flickr Commons is a searchable database of photographs that exist in the public domain or have no known copyright restrictions. Institutions such as the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian have made parts of their collections available through this site.
As of this writing, there are almost 20 million images, sounds, and videos hosted by
Wikimedia Commons that can be reused for free. Much of the content is made available through open licenses that
require attribution or identification of the specific license being used.