Plagiarism vs. Copyright Infringement

This week was a little different than the other weeks.  I feel that I was pretty knowledgeable about what we were learning, prior to the week’s lesson.  This week was about copyrights and plagiarism.  Plagiarism is a concept that is pretty familiar.  I’ve taught in high school for all of my teaching career and English in the past.  So plagiarism something that I’ve faced as a teacher.  I currently work in high school special education and math, so although I don’t deal with the issue directly, I have students on my caseload that are in English classes and write papers. Copyright laws on the other hand, isn’t completely known to me.

I feel that plagiarism, is something that is done knowingly.  We teach what plagiarism is in class.  If an individual copies work and doesn’t use quotes or cite it, it is plagiarism.  Copyright laws are a different story.  I don’t believe they commonly taught in school.  Students and even teachers aren’t really sure of what is true.  When I was reading the materials for this week and taking the quiz, I realized how much I didn’t know.  I believe it’s crucial that teachers and students are informed and knowledgeable about both plagiarism and copyright laws.

After reading the article, “The Difference Between Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism” by Bailey.  It helped me to learn more about copyright infringement, plagiarism, the similarities and differences.  Before this week’s reading, I believed that plagiarism were one in the same.  This article helped it break it down for me, to understand.

It explained that copyright infringement ” is simply any infringement up on the rights of a copyright holder”. (Bailey, 2013)  Bailey stated that  Copyright law are the rights given to the owner and the rights are: “to reproduce (copy) a work, to create derivative works based upon it, to distribute copies of the work to the public, to publicly display or perform the work”. (Bailey, 2013)  These laws are basically in place, in order to product the creator of the work.  It also states what the creator is able to do with their work. So whenever the rights aren’t met, they are being infringed upon.

Plagiarism is defined as ” plagiarism is defined as the taking the original work or works of another and presenting it as your own”. (Bailey, 2013)  Although there are not listed rights, there are standards.  Something that I learned about plagiarism is that it has different standards with different individuals.  I always thought that it was one thing and didn’t believe that there could deviations from the definition.

Plagiarisms can be copyright infringements and some copyright infringements can be plagiarisms.  They do commingle, so that’s why there can be some confusion.  But there are differences between both of them.  What I learned is that anything can be plagiarized, copyrighted or not.  Copyright infringement is only concentrated on copyrights works.

The examples of plagiarism, copyright infringement, similarities and differences were really eye-opening.  It helped me to get a concrete meaning of these concepts and truly understand.


Bailey, J. (2013, October). The difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism. Retrieved from