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Plagiarism and Copyright

School Policy

Cheating, plagiarism, and copyright infringement are not tolerated at Withlacoochee Technical College (WTC).


Cheating and Plagiarism:

The act of plagiarism is a severe form of cheating which constitutes intellectual theft. Plagiarism occurs when a person presents someone else’s work as his/her own. Whether a student copies an assignment, downloads a paper from an Internet site, or uses a cut and paste system for creating text, that student has committed plagiarism. All parties to plagiarism are equally guilty, regardless of whether the student gives or receives work.

Copyright Infringement:

All students shall abide by the provisions of United States Copyright Law (Title 17, United States Code, Sect. 101, et seq.). Copyright refers to exclusive legal rights authors or owners have over their works, usually of an intellectual nature such as literary, dramatic, and educational (including computer software), for a specific period of time. These rights include copying whole or parts of works, creating derivative works, and distributing or performing the works. Copyright exists automatically as soon as a work is rendered in a tangible form, such as in writing. It is necessary to assume that all works are copyrighted, even if the © symbol does not appear on the work. Students may not make additional copies of any copyrighted materials provided to them in the classroom.

The doctrine of fair use permits educators and students access, in a limited manner, to reproduce or otherwise utilize without permission the copyrighted works of another for educational purposes only. There are four essential tests of fair use, those briefly being:

  1. The purpose and character of the use;
  2. The nature of the work to be used;
  3. The portion or amount of the work to be used in relation to the whole work; and
  4. Potential financial effect of use of the work upon the copyright holder.

For more information about fair use, see the school media specialist.

Internet documents and web pages are copyrighted unless otherwise indicated. Copyright law covers all electronic content, including but not limited to web pages, electronic mail, software, electronic documents and bulletin board postings, unless the material is copyright-free (for example, federal documents, material containing a statement of permission to copy, or content in the public domain).

Peer-to-peer file sharing has made the downloading and share of software easier, but this practice encourages violation of copyright law. Unless a student has the express permission of a copyright holder to copy, download, or share files, the student is in violation of copyright law and is subject to various legal remedies including civil and criminal actions.

Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject a student to civil liabilities such as monetary damages and attorney’s fees, and criminal penalties including fines and time in prison.

Students who cheat, plagiarize, or infringe copyright law will face any or all of the following consequences:

First Offense:

  1. If the student is a minor, the student’s parent will be contacted.
  2. The student will receive a failing grade for the assignment(s). 
  3. Honor Society membership and/or positions of leadership will be revoked.
  4. School-awarded honors or representation of the school in any other capacity will be denied.
  5. The student may be suspended from school for one to five days.

Second Offense:

  1. Dismissal from program
Students who cheat on industry certification or licensing exams will forfeit the testing fee(s) and be removed from the testing area. An incident report will be filed with the testing agency to determine if the student will be allowed to test again. 
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