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Academic Honesty & Copyright Laws

Academic honesty demonstrates one's respect and recognition for the integrity and intellectual property of the works of others. 

Academic honesty includes the avoidance of cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, and facilitating academic dishonesty. Cheating is one of the most widespread violations of academic honesty.

  • Cheating is the act of using, viewing, storing, or submitting work that belongs to someone else without approval.
  • Plagiarism is the use of ideas, phrases, or other materials without properly citing the source
  • Fabrication is falsifying or inventing information, misrepresenting one's self.
  • Facilitating academic dishonesty involves helping someone else violate standards of academic honesty.

Images and Copyrighted Work

You must obtain the permission of the copyright holder of an image before using, reproducing, or manipulating it in an assignment or research paper. It is a good idea to verify whether you have permission to use an image before including it in your work, rather than saving this step for last. In some cases blanket permission for educational purposes is granted in advance through the terms of a database license or the terms described by the online collection's owner. This is the case for Databases Available Through SFU Library.

Though you may obtain permission to use an image, you must still credit the copyright holder. In statements of usage rights on websites, this practice is often called "attribution." In some cases, you will be instructed to attribute the image to an institution that owns the copyright. When citing, include as much of the information below as possible:

  • Image creator's name (artist, photographer, etc.)
  • Title of the image
  • Date the image (or work represented by the image) was created
  • Website and/or Database name

When dealing with freely viewable collections on the Internet, look for a page with copyright information, a license statement, terms and conditions, or permissions. This page may give blanket permission for educational purposes, instruct you to check copyright terms for each image, or ask that you contact the image owner for permission to use it. In other cases, you may be required to pay a usage fee.

Creative Commons Licenses

cclogolarge.png A growing number of online images are being published with Creative Commons licenses (for example, many of the images on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons). These licenses are designed to give copyright holders a range of permission options for digital intellectual property and in most cases allow educational uses. Particularly if you would like to alter an image or incorporate elements of it into a new art work, you should examine the license for details of how you are allowed to use the image. To see the license, click on the Creative Commons logo or the Creative Commons License link.

Public Domain

You will sometimes see images described as being "in the public domain." This refers to works that belong to the community at large, are not protected by copyright, and may be appropriated by anyone. For example, in Canada, most works pass into the public domain after fifty years following the end of the calendar year in which the author died. However, it is important to realize that while a work may be in the public domain, a specific edition or image of the work may be under copyright.

Stanford University created an informative web site dedicated to fair use. Please take a few moments to browse the site to refresh or deepen your understand of copyright and fair use.




Here are four short videos that takes a creative and informative approach to explaining fair use and how to use "in-text" citations


In-text Citations

Research Tutorials

Plagiarism: How to avoid it

Bainbridge University 2010

Fair Use

Video:Fair(y) Use Tale

Fair Use

Video on fair use and copy right laws:

SelectionFile type iconFile nameDescriptionSizeRevisionTimeUser

  Jul 9, 2013, 2:36 PM Kay Mendoza