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Copyright & Plagiarism: Copyright and Plagiarism at Shaw

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Velma Williams
Library Specialist - James E. Cheek Learning Resource Center, 1st Floor

Why are Plagiarism and Copyright Important?

Complying with copyright law is more challenging to academic institutions than ever before.With newer, faster, and more convenient (often digital ways) to share information, academia is moving away from the traditional paper copy and handouts, and into a new set of copyright conundrums.

This guide should assist you in answering any questions you may have - addressing questions, providing guidelines, and acting as a resource for you.

According to the Handbook for Student Discipline and the Judicial Process at Shaw University the violation of copyright infringement or plagiarism fall under Academic Misconduct cases, which may come under the jurisdiction of the Judicial Conduct Board. Any attempt to engage in academic dishonesty (including plagiarism, falsifying information, or not correctly citing information) will be subject to intervention and disciplinary action.

Full Plagiarism Guidelines

Much of the information in this section is drawn from content posted on the official website for plagiarism and  The information appears here in an edited form. 

For a full discussion of these topics, including definitions and tutorials, please visit

U.S. Copyright Office

Much of the information in this section is drawn from content posted on the Web site of the U.S. Copyright Office and is based on the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976. The information appears here in an edited form.

For a full discussion of these topics, including references to legal and other resources, contact the US Copyright Office directly- 202-707-5959 or 1-877-476-0778 (toll free) Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm EST.  Or you can visit their website at

For most copyright questions, we follow an overall guide: When In Doubt, Gain Permission

Penalties of Copyright Infringement

You are violating the copyright act by reproducing, republishing or redistributing the work of a copyright holder without permission.

  • if the work has been registered with the Copyright Office, the copyright holder may sue for compensation
    • The compensation may include damages (i.e. lost profits) from the activity, or statuatory damages from $250-$150,000 (plus attorney's fees) - they can be higher if the court feels that the infringement was committed willfully.
    • These damages can be applied PER COPY of infringement
  • You may be criminally liable if you willfully copy a work for profit or financial gain, or if the copied work has value
    • if the copied work has a value of more than $1,000, penalties can include 1- year jail sentences plus fines
    • if the copied work has a value of more than $2,500, penalties can include 5+ years in jail, plus fines

 For more information, view “Copyright Infringement and Remedies”.

Use Grammarly to help!

All Shaw University students have FREE ACCESS to Grammarly premium software - a tool to use for grammar, spelling, plagiarism, citation assistance, and copyright issues!

  • To activate your account, look for an email from Grammarly in your Shaw email.
  • Click on the link in the email and set up a password.
  • Your login name is your Shaw email address.
  • If you need assistance with this email or haven't recieved it, please reach out to IT -

More Resources

For further assistance, please contact us!
Shaw University Libraries - James E. Cheek Learning Resources Center
118 E. South Street - Raleigh, NC 27609
919-546-8407 -

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