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Intellectual Freedom, Copyright, Plagiarism

Page history last edited by Kathy 13 years, 4 months ago


Intellectual Freedom


School librarians are responsible for providing students with information and protecting both their privacy and their right to access. 

Though not a policy, Frederick County school administrators expect school librarians, at the beginning of every school year, to present the following information to the staff during the opening-day staff meeting:

  • Copyright laws
  • Fair-use regulations
  • Factors to be considered when determining Fair-use
  • Dramatic and Musical Works Licensing
  • Copying in the School Library


Important Documents

Copyright Information



Important Documents


ALA Freedom to Read


Stacey Fisher's Freedom to Read- 09fisher_freedom_to_read.doc


School Library First Principles- First Principles.doc


Frederick County per School Library Handbook

Explanation of National Copyright and Fair Use law in conjunction with Frederick County Policy



This document was created by a Frederick County teacher for use with high school students. The expectation is that a school will require all students to sign this document at the beginning of the year. It is a contract between the student and the school that the student will not participate in any type of plagiarism or cheating throughout the school year.

Code of Academic Integrity 



Intellectual Freedom Award- Given annually in the amount of $2,000 to recognize a school librarian who has upheld the principles of intellectual freedom. Sponsored by AASL and ProQuest.



Copyright Information


Copyright information regarding multimedia materials that includes: Print resource, AV resources and Electronic resources



This page provides easy-to-read information about copyright laws and fair use.  Standford University Library 


"Join the Copyright Compliance Team" by Rebecca P. Butler, Ph.D. (from Knowledge Quest

This article provides simple, easy-to-use recommendations on how best to educate teachers and administrators about copyright law. As Butler says, "While an educator may find it easy to correct a student who infringes, correcting a fellow teacher or administrator can be an uncomfortable place indeed" (66).

Key Points from Butler's article:

  • Because information is so much more available to students now, many teachers and administrators are studying copyright laws. Classroom teachers are not as ignorant and dismissive of the copyright laws.
  • School librarians should be ready to show offending teachers or administrators the county's or district's policies on copyright infringement.
  • School librarians should stay abreast of grant-writing opportunities to assist teachers who feel they need to make multiple copies of a single work because their department or team lacks the funds to purchase a class set of the work.  
  • If a school librarian is unable to convince a teacher to not infringe on copyright law, the school librarian should document the incident (this may done privately).
  • Overall, the best way to avoid an uncomfortable situation is for the school librarian to make a point to educate his or her school community whenever possible. 
  • With any incidents of copyright infringement, the school librarian needs to remain "assertive, not aggressive; calm, not emotional. Recognize that you may be in one of those situations where the answer is difficult to find" (68). 


Carroll County Copyright per Library Handbook, section VIII-1

Fair Use Criteria-

  1. The purpose and character of the use (for commercial or for non-profit educational purposes)
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work (print or non-print, fiction or nonfiction).
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the whole copyrighted work (substantial amount copied)
  4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work (regardless if creator is denied potential income).

Classroom use of materials is considered a “nonprofit” for educational purpose and therefor is granted exception to copyright law following the first three fair use criteria standards.  Just because a particular material is being used for educational purposes does not mean it may necessarily be copied, all four fair use standards must be met. 





The Proper Use of Information


Howard County

What is Plagiarism?


  • Plagiarism is when a student takes someone else’s work and uses or claims it as their own.
  • Examples
    • A student ‘borrows’ specific sentences from a textbook or any other resource and does not cite where they got it.
    • Copying and pasting from the Internet and posting somewhere else without proper citation.
    • Putting your name on another person's essay or project.
    • Copying exact wording from another person's text.
    • Using another person's photo, diagram, sounds, or ideas without proper citation.
    • Purchasing another person's text and using it as your own.
    • Presenting ideas in the same format and order as your research source.


How can teachers tell when you have plagiarized?


  • If your writing is similar or exactly like another classmates.
  • If a project or paper doesn’t seem like a particular student’s work.
  • If a teacher finds direct quotes that have not been cited.
  • If a teacher checks it against one of the many online resources that provides projects or papers for money.


What are the consequences for plagiarism?


  • Consequences are determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • In middle school the minimum penalty for plagiarism is the student receiving an ‘E’ in the course.
  • The maximum penalty for plagiarism is the student being expelled.


What are ways I can avoid plagiarism?


  • Did I make a list of all the books, articles, websites, and other sources I used?
  • Did I keep track of which information came from which sources?
  • When I used sentences just as they were in the source, did I always put quotation marks around them?
  • When I summarized ideas in my own words, did I remember to give credit to the original source?
  • Did I ask my teacher if I was unsure of how to list a source or whether to list it?


An Example of Plagiarism


The Original Material

Somewhere, many of us got the idea that simplicity in writing is a vice- that the long word is better than the short word, that the complex phrase is superior to the simple one. The misconception is that to write simply is to be simple minded. (Ballenger, Bruce. The Curious Researcher. New York, Allyn and Bacon, 1994. p.184.)


Types of Plagiarism


Direct Copying:

There is an idea out there that simplicity in writing is a vice-- that the long word is better than the short one, that the complex phrase is superior to the simple one. The misconception is that to write simply is to be simple minded.


Most of the first sentence and the entire second sentence are copied directly from Ballenger with no quotation marks and no citation.



Many of us have the idea that simplicity in writing and speaking is a vice-that long words are better than short words, and that complex phrases are superior to simple ones. The idea is that writing simply shows means you are simple minded.


A few words are re-arranged and a few are substituted, but the idea and order of development is Ballenger's who is not cited.


Theft of an Idea:

Simplicity in writing is not a fault. The short word is better than the long word; the simple phrase is better than the more complex one. It is an error to think that one is simple minded because one writes simply.


The ideas are put in someone else's words, but they imply that they are the new author's rather than Ballenger's since

Ballenger is not cited.


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