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Copyright & Plagiarism

Avoid plagiarism and copyright violations as you create scholarly and other works. Either can hurt your reputation and the reputation of the university – and put your career at risk. Committing copyright violations risks legal action against you and the university.


Plagiarism is the act of using another’s original work and calling it your own, such as:

  • Concepts
  • Language
  • Research
  • Strategies
  • Images
  • Sounds
  • Writing
  • Codes
  • Formulas

Plagiarism should be avoided  on examinations, assignments, research papers, musical works, laboratory reports and other forms of academic, professional and creative work.

Plagiarism inhibits the free exchange of ideas and discoveries that continue to build the university’s academic and research work.

What can you do?

Maintain honesty and respect for others’ works and ideas. Be familiar with how to reference other people’s works; give them credit. Use quotation marks and bibliographic citing to indicate information borrowed from other sources.


Students found guilty of plagiarism could be reprimanded, receive a lower grade, made to withdraw or fail the course, be suspended or be dismissed.

Faculty and staff members who are found to have plagiarized could be reprimanded, suspended or dismissed.


Copyright is legal protection given to authors to control the use and reproduction of their original works.  

All original and tangible expressions  are subject to copyright, such  as the following types:

  • Written
  • Electronic
  • Dramatic
  • Visual
  • Recorded
  • Graphic

Trademarks and logos also cannot be reproduced without permission from the copyright holder.

Fair Use

Marketable works or works that promote the university must meet a higher standard to avoid copyright violations. What is considered Fair Use in the classroom or in an academic paper could be illegal in such a case. Plagiarism is even more likely to be illegal.

What can you do?

Copyright holders have the right to reproduce works, make derivative works, distribute copies of the work or perform or display works in public. Normally, creators own their copyright immediately without the need to register or mark their works as copyrighted.

Original, copyrighted work done by student workers, faculty members and staff while employed at the university and using university resources is considered property of the university.


According to the UT System Office of General Counsel, UTB copyright violators and their departments will be accountable if caught. Those personnel could be reprimanded, suspended or dismissed.

A copyright lawsuit could result in loss of reputation and money for the violators, their departments and the university.

Additional Resources


Office of Marketing and Communication
Cueto Building
Fax 956-882-7999
1301 E. Madison St.
Brownsville, TX 78520

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