Plagiarism and copyright

Copyright legislation

Copyright laws were established to prevent one person from simply running off with another person’s original creation.  A copyright offers copyright protection to anyone who creates works,  and they apply not only to written materials but also to visual and audio materials. This means that the maker of such a work (in copyright terms: ‘the author’), is the only one who can decide about how the works he or she has created can be exploited,  which includes publishing as well as reproducing it. 

If you want to reuse or share someone else’s work with others (e.g. by emailing it or uploading it onto Blackboard), you will first need to get permission from the copyright holders. And you will always have to acknowledge the source as well. 

There is a common misconception that anyone may reuse anything on the internet simply because it is all openly accessible. This is actually untrue, however: you will also have to ask permission for a work found on the internet and acknowledge the source.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use or close imitation of another person’s work and the representation of them as one's own original work which can occur if you incorrectly acknowledge a source or if you do not comply with the other conditions of citing. Plagiarism is illegal and is regarded as a form of fraud, and the consequences of using others’ work without acknowledgement may be huge. 

In 2015, for example, de Volkskrant dismissed a Leiden University intern after he had copied passages from other media without citing the source. And this was an estimated one-third of the 75 articles he had written under his name during his internship. In 2016, a student at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht even became involved in a lawsuit  when it was shown that part of her sensational thesis, which had been in the news, had not been her own idea. She was found guilty of committing plagiarism. 

Dos

  • Quoting. Quoting means to repeat or copy what someone else has said, written or made. This applies not just to a literal representation but also a representation in your own words (paraphrasing). Because you are using another’s work, it is essential that you acknowledge this and meet certain requirements. At the very least you should name your sources (where the citation comes from).
  • Citation for instruction purposes and the 'exception for educational purposes'. Works (of any kind) may be copied and published in part for instruction purposes in a non-commercial educational setting without obtaining permission from the copyright holders. This ‘exception for educational purposes’ does require copyright holders to be paid a reasonable fee for the use of their work.
  • In the case of written material for paper or digital readers, such fees are collected centrally by Stichting PRO.
  • For ’short citations’, this reasonable fee is already covered by the reader regulation for educational institutions.
  • For long citations, a reasonable fee will still have to be paid , so these will have to be reported to Stichting PRO. 

The exception for educational purposes also requires that previously published sources be acknowledged, and cited unchanged.  Please look under ‘Tools’ for some basic rules on how to compile a digital reader.

  • Quoting from official documents. Dutch laws, local acts and court rulings are free of copyright, but other government publications, such as ministerial reports, are not.  These may, however, be freely copied and published, unless the source has explicitly reserved the copyright.
  • Works with a license for reuse. Check to see if the work you are quoting from is covered by a licence for reuse, such as Creative Commons or Open Access. Such licences usually offer more freedom of citation.  Here are some basic rules for finding works with a license for reuse.

Basic rules

  • Basic rules on how to compile a digital reader. Follow this step-by-step plan that ensures that you will observe copyrights when citing copyrighted material for educational purposes. This applies to both citing in educational publications (e.g. in digital readers or syllabi) as well as to a partial quote (e.g. on Blackboard).
  • Basic rules for using audio and video. Follow this step-by-step plan that ensures that you will observe copyrights when using audio and video materials.
  • Basic rules for finding works with a license for reuse. Follow this step-by-step plan that makes it easy to find works that you may reuse without encountering any hassles.
  • Basic rules for using copyrighted works in presentations. Follow this step-by-step plan that ensures that you will observe copyrights when using copyrighted works in presentations.

Tools

  • RefWorks. A handy tool for correct citation.
  • WorldCat.org. A global library catalogue that enables you to find the publications you wish to cite. Using the cite/export function, you can easily copy a citation to your bibliography or export it to RefWorks.
  • Ephorus plagiarism prevention. The Hague University of Applied Sciences offers teaching staff the opportunity of having have papers, theses and reports submitted by students scanned by the Ephorus plagiarism prevention program. Lecturers should contact DLO Support to open an account. Students can submit their work electronically through the Student Portal.
  • The AV Contracting Tool. Lecturers and students are increasingly producing their own audiovisual material. Since  this usually involves a number of people or parties,  it important to establish satisfactory agreements in advance with everyone involved regarding their rights. The AV Contracting Tool makes it easy to create a series of coordinated contracts  that will organise everything properly for every production.
  • Word counter. The Hague University of Applied Sciences has already arranged for permission to use short citations {Interne link naar digitale readers toevoegen}  of copyrighted material for educational purposes and to a reasonable fee for this. Stichting PRO provides a word counter as a tool for determining the word limit for a short citation. 

More information

  • The site for copyrights in higher education provides students, lecturers, researchers and institutions with a list of frequently asked questions. It also gives you basic information about all the important aspects about copyrights and an extensive glossary.
  • For the permitted reuse of material, refer to the precepts provided by SURF.
  • Stichting PRO provides more information about the reader regulation. This is an agreement reached between the Nederlands Uitgeversverbond (the branch organisation for Dutch publishing companies) / Stichting PRO (Publication and Reproduction Rights Organisation) and Dutch institutions of higher education (as represented by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands and The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences) that includes agreements about the conditions for citing copyrighted material for educational purposes as well as the reasonable fee for citing it. 

Copyrights information point

The library advises and assists students, lecturers and researchers with copyright questions. The library is also a member of the national network of copyrights information points for universities of applied sciences  that shares expertise and develops basic rules, tools and resources. 

Citing

Rules drawn up as based on a legal standpoint can help you cite and reuse material, so  learn these precepts for the permissible reuse of material, apply them, and avoid plagiarism, even if it might be unintentional.

A summary of the rules:

  • The citation must serve a purpose. It has to support the content of the work within which you are citing it. The citation may not serve simply as embellishment.
  • The length of the citation must be in proportion to the point you are trying to make. For audiovisual works, this comes down to short fragments. Images, however, may be ‘cited’ in their entirety. Within a text, the citation should be of modest proportions in comparison with your own work.
  • The work being cited must have been lawfully published.
  • Citing involves the clear provision of the source, including the name of the author.
  • When making a literal quotation or including visual and audio material, you may not introduce any changes in what you are citing or including.

Basic rules on how to compile a digital reader.

Take a look at the step-by-step plan that ensures that you will observe copyrights when citing copyrighted material for educational purposes. This applies to both citing in educational publications (e.g. in digital readers or syllabi) as well as to a partial quote (e.g. on Blackboard).

A summary of the step-by-step plan:

  • Creating links to copyrighted works (such as articles, books, chapters of books, and videos) found on the internet is always permissible but only if these publications were lawfully published.
  • Look to see if the works are available through the digital library. If so, you can create a link to them without encountering any problems.
  • If works are being distributed under a license (such as Creative Commons), such licences usually offer more freedom of citation. Check to see if the work has such a license and see what the conditions are.
  • If the work was published by the government (and the source has not explicitly reserved the copyright),  or if you are citing from Dutch laws, decrees, court rulings or administrative decisions, you can be assured of no problems when including these publications in a reader.
  • There will be no problems associated with including a short citation in a reader  since these are covered in the reader regulation made with the Stichting PRO.

These are the conditions for a short citation:

  • A maximum of 10,000 words may be cited from a non-literary book, with the added condition that this constitutes no more than one third of the original work and in which charts, tables, diagrams, photographs and illustrations count as 200 words each.
  • A maximum of 8000 words may be cited from journals and other periodicals, with the added condition that this constitutes no more than one third of that issue and in which charts, tables, diagrams, photographs and illustrations count as 200 words each.
  • A maximum of 25 charts, tables, diagrams, photographs and illustrations can be reproduced from a single original source.
  • If one of the above conditions is not met, what you have is a long citation that will have to be reported to Stichting PRO.  

Tips

  • Always provide a proper source acknowledgement.
  • Provide accurate numbers indicating how many students have access to the content.
  • Do not include multiple citations in one reader.

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