Copying Right

Copying Right- Understanding Online Plagiarism

And here comes Course 2…… wait did I mess up in Course 1?

This week I am reflecting on the somewhat confusing idea of online copyright and the ability or right to use other forms of digital media in my blog and my teaching.

Reflecting on my previous posts- Did I copy? Did I copy right?

Looking back on my first couple blogs, I come out okay. In Learning not to Lurk I am give credit to Youtube for a video I linked in (though I should have embedded it instead….I am going to change that now). When referring to different blog posts or readings from the week I give credit back to the original author and my use of the material is for educational purposes.  In Toying With Technology , I refer back to a multitude of posts by Kim Cofino (who even commented on my blog which put a smile on my face) with hyperlinks to allow readers to find the original works. I used an embedded video from Youtube but this time, as compared with Learning Not to Lurk, I did not add in a video reference. Do I need to add in the references for the Youtube video or for embedding links? Based on the Digital Media Law Project, I do not. So I think I am good there. I have an image of a bunny from Unsplash where I credit the creator and link back to the website…..though that link is not working (another thing to fix). There, now that is better. In reflecting on two post from Course 1, I think I am on the safe side for my copyright.

Plagiarism to Copy Right

I have always viewed referencing as the attempt to show where original ideas came from and to make it as easy as possible for the reader to find that original work. With school assignments, in-text citations or footnotes were the norm with a proper citation at the end. Taking time to go through the citation page or bibliography to make sure every period or comma was in the right spot would give me anxiety of being called out for plagiarism. Yet, with blogging and the ability to hyperlink back I am still a bit confused about the need to specifically reference versus hyperlink.

Based on the ideas expressed by the Digital Media Law Project and the more than helpful flow chart by Silvia Tolisano , I have a better understanding of how plagiarism and copy right.

Turnitin and the Plagiarism Spectrum

I remember first being told about and that it was going to catch every case of copying possible. I was terrified of accidentally forgetting to use quotation marks or have any three or four word combination turn up a red flag. It is one of the reasons I work in plagiarism lessons with my EAL students as they are usually not aware of how much trouble it could get them in down the line. Recently when I went back to I found they had created a second info-graph on plagiarism that help reflect the changes created by online resources. Looking at the first version and the second, you can see how the idea of plagiarism has changed. What I like about the second one is its emphasis on the importance of original thinking. I have read their definition of original thinking several times but this time I caught something different.

Original thinking- when someone submits assignments that are their own work, composed of original ideas built on attributable sources. – The Plagiarism Spectrum 2.0 by


Kirby Ferguson’s excellent video Everything is a Remix  help illuminate (there is a Thomas Edison pun) the idea that all good ideas come from somewhere else. In working with students, I think the most important thing they should know in the digitial age is the same thing that I tried to do in high school. Allow the reader, who is now a viewer in some cases, to understand WHERE all the ideas came from.

The Participation Gap — the unequal access to the opportunities, experiences, skills, and knowledge that will prepare youth for full participation in the world of tomorrow. The Transparency Problem — The challenges young people face in learning to see clearly the ways that media shape perceptions of the world. The Ethics Challenge — The breakdown of traditional forms of professional training and socialization that might prepare young people for their increasingly public roles as media makers and community participants.

My responsibility as an Educator

I am fortunate to work in a school where there is a strong understanding of how to use digital media and tools responsibly. Students have to sign a responsible user agreement when they get their device. Teachers push the use of Unsplash or Pixabay when looking for images. Teachers push the use of MyBib for helping to cite sources. It helps that our head of Education Technology is a former Coetail graduate. In working through course 1, I was able to get a better understanding of many school policies and proposals by working through the literature.

My responsibility as an educator is to ensure every student understands their role in helping to build a positive community online by acknowledging the contributions of others. In creating presentations or other assignments only destine for the classroom, students can assume they can use everything they like because they are not publishing it. However, in order to prepare them for their future they need to develop the habits necessary to ensure they are copying right.

I always find a bit of humour helps students understand better. This is a classic but a great way to introduce the idea with students.


What websites do you use other than Unsplash or Pixabay to help students find images?


  1. Justin Ouellette
  2. Abigail Lopez
  3. Diana Beabout

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