Copyright or wrong?

Copyright in education has become a hot topic since computers and the internet began the era of the copy and paste. This phenomenon continues to be an issue even though teachers check students work with plagiarism checkers constantly. Students seem to be okay with taking someone else’s work and saying it is their own. The ease of the copy and paste has created an issue that never used to exist.

While I was a teacher, I felt that students did not have a very good understanding of the correct process of citing sources for copyright reasons. This lack of understanding was also fueled by a lack of interest as well. All of this affects the teaching and learning process. The importance of copyright in education is hard to put into words, but we know that it becomes a large issue when they are required to reference sources when they get to college and beyond. Starting the learning process early can combat some of the issues that some teachers face when students get into the secondary and higher education classrooms.

The understanding of plagiarism can be complicated as Bailey (2013) states, since it is very similar to copyright infringement, but different as well. Many instances of plagiarism can also be considered copyright infringement, but one main difference is that plagiarism is a violation in ethics and copyright infringement deals more with the law. How can we really blame students for their lack of focus on such an important educational process when the Copyright Office itself is outdated and in need of a face lift? As technology grows in use daily in the classroom; we have to believe that the office that is in charge of such a large and important part of our economy must be able to come into the 21st century as well (Tepp & Oman, 2015). We continue to have conversations about the future of education, but yet we are not always willing to help our students understand the importance of such an important issue that has grown because of technology.


Bailey, J. (2013, Oct. 7). The difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism. Retrieved from difference-copyright- infringement-plagiarism/

Tepp, S. and Oman, R. (2015, October). A 21st century copyright office: The conservative case for reform. Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C.

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