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Citation Styles: Plagiarism & Copyright

This guide gives an overview of the most common Citation styles along with information on parts of sources and DOIs


According to Plagiarism is the act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author's words as one's own as by not crediting the original author.

Plagiarism is using someone else’s words as your own. There are several ways that you can be guilty of plagiarizing, but they all involve citing your sources improperly or failing to cite at all. Also considered plagiarizing is copying and pasting other people’s words as your own, buying a paper from a paper mill or even using a paper from a different class as original work. Someone worked hard to create that information it is only fair to cite them and give them credit for their ideas. 

The Library has created a Plagiarism Prevention LibGuide that can help you to avoid accidental plagiarism mistakes.  Remember you could be expelled or suspended if found guilty of plagiarism.

Many ways to Plagiarize

All of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • Turning in someone’s work as your own.
  • Failing to put quotation in quotation marks.
  • Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit.
  • Giving incorrect information about the source of the quotation.
  • Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit.
  • Using a previous assignment or essay as a new assignment


The Writing Center

You are under a lot of pressure as students. That’s why the Writing Center Staff and the Librarians are here to help you. If you plagiarize, you could be expelled or suspended. Please follow this guide to avoid embarrassment or worse.

Why is Copyright Important?

Even if you correctly cite according to the citation style manuals and give credit that the ideas were created by someone else you could be violating copyright.  If the expressions are fixed in a tangible medium (for example the pages of a book, video clip on a dvd, pages in a journal, or even a written speech) then the ideas are most likely protected by federal copyright laws.  Why would you take the ideas and thoughts of someone without permission? 

There are guidelines when borrowing intellectual property from others.  If a brief amount of the work (generally less than 10%) is used for an academic purpose (non profit accreditated educational institution like USC Upstate) for less than one semester (not to be used again for a second time) then it is likely okay to use the material if access is restricted (limited to your professor or classmates) under fair use guidelines.  To find out more about copyright visit 


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