Answered By: Monique Ritchie
Last Updated: 30 Nov, 2023     Views: 141

Plagiarism is passing off someone else's work as your own. As such it is a type of of academic misconduct or fraud.

Copyright is an intellectual property right which applies to original works, giving the owner certain exclusive rights, including the assignment or transfer of copyright ownership, or communication to the public. 

It's possible to plagiarise without infringing copyright and to be in breach of copyright without plagiarising. For example, an author who included a piece of their prior work in a new piece of work without acknowledging the prior work in the reference list would be self-plagiarising. If the same author owns the copyright in the original work which was copied, this would not infringe copyright. However, if the copyright ownership in the original work has been transferred in full  to a publisher and was used without permission, the author will have self-plagiarised and have also infringed the publisher's copyright. 

To avoid plagiarism in your work, it is important to ensure that ideas or quotations from your prior work, or someone else featured in your own work are sufficiently acknowledged. This applies irrespective of whether the content is cited word for word or is paraphrased jn your own words. If you fail to do so, you could be in breach of an author's moral right to be identified as the author under copyright law. This is called the right of paternity, under Section 80 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended.

You may also infringe copyright if you use a substantial portion of a work without permission that would not otherwise be covered by a statutory exception, whether you acknowledge the work or not.

It is possible to use third party materials in your work under certain circumstances without infringing copyright under licence and statutory exceptions to copyright for research and education. These include exceptions for quotation.

For information about copyright permissions, see our online copyright guidance also linked below. For more information about plagiarism and referencing see the links below.