Steps Colleges Can Follow to Promote 
Academic Integrity and Copyright Compliance

Barbara Zukin Heiman, Ph.D.

Instructor, Computer and Information Sciences
Santa Rosa Junior College



The relationship between liberty and responsibility

George Bernard Shaw wrote, in his Maxims for Revolutionists1 :

The relationship between academic freedom and academic integrity

Academic freedom is a conceptual umbrella that allows members of academic communities the freedom to express their opinions and beliefs, even if tthat expression is unpopular. Academic integrity is the explicit responsibility to present as one's original work only that which is truly one's own.2 The upholding of academic freedom and academic integrity occurs on three levels: In the Digital Age, where cost and mechanical barriers to reproduction are virtually nil, ethical violations of academic integrity and legal violations of national and international copyright laws have become rampant. Academic institutions need to re-examine their standards of academic freedom and academic integrity, and also to spell out the consequences of violations of those standards.

Ethical Approaches to Academic Integrity

Most academic institutions have clear policy statements forbidding academic dishonesty. Here is a sample statement from UC Santa Cruz5: The Center for Academic Integrity ( provides a an extensive collection of the policies and procedures currently in use in major academic institutions. The Center's goal is to: Student violations of academic integrity tend to fall into these areas: Faculty violations include: Part of the ethos of academic institutions is that information is to be shared. A major impetus for the development of the Internet was the desire for the sharing of information among academic communities. However, sharing with permission and credit is not the same as locating work that is not one's own, stripping off its creator(s), changing its formatting if desired, and presenting it as one's own work.

For academic integrity to be cherished, and to retain any meaning in the academic world,  there should be clearly-delineated consequences for breaches of this integrity .

Consequences might include:

While policy statements affirming academic integrity are nearly universal, clear consequences for academic dishonesty are not--either at the student or faculty level. In fact, most institutions tend to handle violations on a "case by case" basis--maybe this is why faculty reportage is so low?

Legal Approaches: Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Fair Use Guidelines

Intellectual property  is a legal product created by people's minds, research, and imagination. Examples of intellectual property include: Intellectual property owners, like owners of tangible property, have legal claims on how their property may be used. These are known as intellectual property rights. Many links to intellectual property web sites can be found at

Copyright Defined (Compton's Online Encyclopedia, AOL)

“ Most forms of property are tangible; that is, they can be seen and touched. Such property includes land, buildings, automobiles, appliances, or anything else a person may possess. Copyright is an intangible form of property. What is owned, as the word suggests, is a right. This right has two aspects—the right to copy and the right to control copying.

Copyright is a legal protection extended to those who produce creative works. Originally only for books, copyright now extends to magazines, newspapers, maps, plays, motion pictures, television programs, computer program software, paintings, photographs, sculpture, musical compositions, choreographed dances, and similar works. Essentially a copyright protects an intellectual or artistic property.

This type of property is unusual because it is normally intended for public use or enjoyment. If an individual buys a copyrighted book, it belongs to him as an object. But making copies of it to sell or give away is illegal. This right belongs to the publisher, author, or whoever holds the copyright. If someone wants to copy all or part of a book, an application for permission must be made to the copyright owner, who probably will require payment of a fee.”

A copyright is not a single right, but ia set of rights that gives the copyright owner  the exclusive legal authority to:

Karen Coyle spoke at the San Francisco Public Library in 1996. Her talk, entitled "Copyright in the Digital Age"  began: The Copyright Web Site,, states: The digital age has forced the review of copyright law in the United States and beyond. The most extensive review to date, that of the National Information Infrastructure( NII)'s "White Paper" gives the working group's analysis and recommendations.

The Copyright Website observes:

When can copyrighted material be used without permission?

"There are no circumstances in which you have the right to use anyone else's copyrighted materials without their permission." 7

How do you copyright a current work?

Any work put into tangible form after February 28, 1989 automatically vests the author with copyright ownership.
The author does not need to place copyright notices on the work, nor register it with the US Copyright Office.7

What Happens if a copyright is infringed?

According to Nolo Press:

Public Domain

Works that do not have copyright status are considered in the public domain; they may be freely used.
The only works in the public domain are those where:

More copyright information

An excellent list of links on copyright issues and the Web was developed at UC San Diego, and can be found at

The UC Santa Barbara library has also compiled a carefully researched list of intellectual property and copyright links at

Fair Use

Fair use is the opposite of copyright--the ability to cite or use copyrighted materials based on the First Amendment.

The US Constitution provides the mandate and authority for federal copyright laws. Conversely, the First Amendment guarantees freedom of expression. Fair use is an attempt by the courts to reconcile the two. Four factors8 commonly govern fair use:

In deciding whether or not the use of someone else's material ipasses fair use guidelinese, you might want to take the Fair Use Test at the Copyright website:

The Stanford University Library has compiled and extensive list of Fair Use and Copyright resources at

Practical Approaches to the Preservation of Academic Integrity in Cyberspace

Here are steps an academic institution can follow to promote academic integrity and copyright compliance

Educate your community

  1. Provide faculty/staff workshops to show proper use and citing of Internet-published materials.
  2. A comprehensive source of internet citation is the Electronic References & Scholarly Citations of Internet Sources

    Most scholars and students use either the MLA (Modern Language Association) or APA (American Psychological Association) format. Here are instructions for each.

    MLA format -- APA format

  3. Make sure everyone in your academic community (faculty, students, and staff) understands the meaning of plagiarism and the institutional consequences of plagiarism violation.
  4. Plagiarism is the word for the unauthorized copying of sentences or paragraphs that are the work or data of other persons without clearly identifying their origin by appropriate referencing.

    Plagiarism and citation of sources,  written or electronic gives a more complete discussion of plagiarism, and how to avoid unintentional plagiarism.

    The Mining Company,, provides a list of links to articles on plagiarism and other forms of cheating

  5. Role-play  ethical problems, and discuss how they should be handled. Here are a few examples:

Define and publicize clear academic consequences for ethical infringements

Develop an academic integrity statement for faculty, staff and students. (The campus ethics committee of the academic senate might assist here.)

There must be consequences for unethical acts. If there are no consequences, violations of ethical infringements will not be taken seriously by the academic community.

Consequences should be delineated for faculty and staff as well as students.

Consequences should be clear and appropriate. (Case by case often means no action.)
Rutgers University  has an excellent description of different levels of student academic dishonesty  and consequences at each level.

Once consequences are determined, they must be publicized.

Follow through

Consequences are meaningless without follow through.



To Michael Heiman, for discussing these issues over several dinners, and helping to develop the case presentations.


1.  The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, 1955, Pp. 490.
2. UC Santa Cruz Statement on Academic Integrity.
3. Rutgers University  Policy on Academic Integrity
4. Univeristy of Pennsylvania  Academic Integrity Statement
5. UC Santa Cruz Statement on Academic Integrity
6. Web and New Media Pricing Guide, Frenza and Szabo, Hayden Books, 1996. P. 162.
7. Web and New Media Pricing Guide, Frenza and Szabo, Hayden Books, 1996. P. 170.
8. Web and New Media Pricing Guide, Frenza and Szabo, Hayden Books, 1996. P. 172.


Copyright 1998, Barbara Zukin Heiman, Ph.D. (
Instructor, Computer and Information Sciences
Santa Rose Junior College

An earlier version of this paper was prepared for ACCCA Learning on the Internet Conference, April, 1998.

Fair Use: Page may be linked to,  duplicated in its entirety, or quoted in part provided author is given full credit, and use is not for profit.