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Student Copyright Guide: Copyright Infringement

This guide is an overview of copyright law, terms, and practices.

Using a Copyrighted Work

In order to use a work protected by copyright, permission from the author or compliance with fair use is required. The author can claim copyright infringement when these conditions are not followed, and this can result in legal penalties for the infringer.

Plagiarism vs. Copyright Infringement

Plagiarism is the use of someone’s words or ideas without giving credit. It can be avoided by properly citing the source material.

Copyright infringement is the unauthorized reproduction, distribution, display, etc. of a copyrighted work. It can be avoided by receiving permission from the author or by conforming to fair use guidelines.

Penalties of Copyright Infringement

Copyright infringement can result in civil and criminal penalties, including the following:

  • Payment of damages
  • Imprisonment
  • Fines

A more detailed summary can be found at Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws (Bloomsburg University).

This guide was created by Sarah Schaffer, Class of 2020, as a Professional Writing internship project for the Rohrbach Library.