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The Copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be used "for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of fair use, the user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of the copyright laws.  

The Alfred R. Neumann Library complies with U.S. copyright law. The U.S. Copyright Office website provides a complete version of the law. For related resources, news, helpful charts, and more, see Stanford University's Copyright and Fair Use and Cornell University's Copyright Information Center. For help in determining whether an American work is protected by copyright, see the Digital Copyright Slider. When possible, link directly to online resources (including licensed, fulltext articles and ebooks), or for an alternative to use of copyrighted resources, see Creative Commons.  

The four questions to ask are:

  • What is the purpose of the intended use? Is it educational, non-profit, transformative?
  • What is the nature of the work? Is it published, factual?
  • How much of the piece will be used? A small amount, which is not the "heart" of the work?
  • What will the effect be on the market for the original work? Little to none?

See fair use guidelines for Neumann Library Reserve materials and general Fair Use Checklists (one from the Copyright Advisory Office, Columbia University, and another from the Copyright Information Center, Cornell University), which identify those factors favoring or opposing fair use.

For additional information, see the Association of Research Libraries' Know Your Copy Rights: Using Works in Your Teaching -- What You Can Do (282 KB PDF; or full color version 16.4 MB), and Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education (Center for Social Media, School of Communication, American University). For guidance related specifically to online courses, see the TEACH Act Toolkit (North Carolina State University).


Helping students understand and avoid plagiarism can be a challenge in an electronic, "copy and paste" environment. Helpful resources are available under the Avoiding Plagiarism subtab on the library's Citing and Writing Help guide. Faculty also may contact Neumann Library Research Services with related questions or consult the following resources:  

There are many online sources for the complete text or excerpts from journal articles, dissertations, and books, all of which can be accessed easily by students. You can search for a distinctive phrase or for an article or book title in the following:  

Web Search Engines
 (meta-search; use quotation marks for an exact phrase)
Google Advanced Search
Yahoo Advanced Web Search
Find additional search tools on the library's Web Guides and Search Engines guide.

Online Book Stores and Review Sites

Barnes &

Bookspot Book Reviews

Readers Read Books

Term Paper Mills
Cheating 101: Internet Paper Mills and Subject Specific Paper Mills (Kimbel Library, Coastal Carolina University)

Google Directory: Fee Based Academic Papers  

Fulltext Databases
Neumann Library offers access to over 175 databases, many of which include the fulltext of books, book reviews, and articles from journals and newspapers. Check the databases in your discipline and general databases such as Academic Search Complete or Dissertations and Theses, which are multi-disciplinary.  

Print Reference Sources
Subject encyclopedias and other printed basic information sources in the Neumann Library reference collection can be sources of plagiarized work. These are shelved on the first level of the library.  

Plagiarism Detection Software
At this time UHCL does not subscribe to a plagiarism detection service.  

Academic Integrity Articles: A collection of primarily open source articles compiled by the Center for Academic Integrity, hosted by Clemson University.
Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers: Robert A. Harris, professor of English at Vanguard University of Southern California, suggests strategies for faculty.
Cheating 101: Paper Mills and You
: Information from a seminar on teaching effectiveness given by two librarians at Coastal Carolina University.
Plagiarism in Colleges in USA
: Dr. Ronald B. Standler, attorney, discusses legal aspects of plagiarism. A collection of resources from, a vendor of plagiarism detection software.  

How to Avoid Plagiarism: An Information Literacy Tutorial (Paul Robeson Library, Rutgers University) consists of three brief, fun-to-watch videos, which include practical examples of when a citation is needed and an interactive quiz.
Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It
: Indiana University Writing Tutorial Services'  tips include examples of acceptable and unacceptable paraphrasing. See also Indiana University's interactive quiz on plagiarism.
What is Plagiarism?
: Georgetown University Honor Council's list of excuses students use for plagiarism with information to refute each one.
Synthesis: Using the Works of Others
(Writing Center and Mantor Library, University of Maine at Farmington) offers guidelines, advice, and interactive quizzes on both plagiarism and related issues of copyright infringement.
VAIL Tutor (Center for Intellectual Property, University of Maryland University College) "provides an overview of academic integrity concepts and practical tips for avoiding plagiarism," as well as a certificate of successful completion for quiz takers.  

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