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Chapter 7





Test questions & PDF



Chapter 7 defines and explains plagiarism, copyright and fair use.  It teaches students that avoiding plagiarism is a skill, and walks them through some of the steps a good journalist might take to avoid accidentally plagiarizing someone else’s work.



Journalism professor Mark Berkey-Gerard’s lesson using the Obama “Hope” poster is still a thoughtful and interesting exercise that guides students through the process of asking good questions before using another person’s work.


The University of Arizona's "Fair Use and Copyright Instruction" tutorial is especially well done—we like the quiz near the beginning of the slide show.  You can use the tutorial for class discussion, or assign it as homework.


Stanford University Libraries' website on copyright and fair use is also particularly helpful. (We've included this link on the Interactive Workbook Examples page too).


The textbook exercises ask students to define plagiarism, explain why it might be called a form of stealing, and look at several specific scenarios and discuss what their decisions would be and why.  Exercise 7-C asks students how long they think a songwriter’s copyright should last and why.


The exercises in the Interactive Workbook ask students to practice avoiding plagiarism by completing exercises at two university plagiarism websites; practice getting copyright permission for a song; read a best copyright and fair use practices code for journalists and briefly summarize its main principles; and suggest questions and answers for a copyright/fair use scenario.


1.  Recognizing plagiarism (this is linked to Exercise 7-3 in the textbook)


Indiana University's School of Education has a discussion with five plagiarism examples.  In each case, the website presents the plagiarized example, the corrected version and a discussion of why the first is problematic.


Go to the website, and, for each of the examples, ask students to discuss, and how they would correct for a news story (the corrected version at the website is for an academic paper).


2.  Plagiarism quizzes


a.  This quiz from Cornell University is not keyed to journalists, but it does an especially good job of showing some of the nuances in the differences between paraphrasing and plagiarizing. 


b.  Either project the quiz and have the class answer and discuss each question as a group, or, alternatively, have students do the quiz one question at a time, pausing to discuss before they click on the answer (if possible).  Ask students for key words or phrases that make a particular passage problematic, or words, phrases or ideas that are generic enough not to be an issue.


c.  This quiz from Digital First Media provides specific examples a reporter might encounter, and asks students to select among several multiple choice answers for how much attribution to provide.  Have students fill in the circles in class.


d.  Discuss their answers and ask students to explain them in each case.


3.  Copyright and fair use—understanding what you can use (this exercise builds on Exercise W7-4 in the Interactive Workbook)


a.  Start by showing “Fair use & Journalism” from the Center for Media and Social Impact.



If you have time, quickly walk students through the “Set of principles in fair use for journalists” from the Center for Media and Social Impact.  (If students have done Exercise W7-3 in the Interactive Workbook, they should already be familiar with these.) 


After students have skimmed through the best practices together, you can link to this set of video clips from the Center for Media and Social Impact.  (Note:  There's also a key with answers and explanations.)


c.  For each video clip you show, ask students the following:


  • Is the material copyrighted?  How would they check?  (You can do some checks with them, by looking up the date of a particular movie, for instance.)


  • Why might this be a fair use of the material?  What might make it not a fair use?


d.  If you have time, link to one or more of this set of videos, also from the Center for Media and Social Impact.


Each of these video clips is an example of successful fair use, and they are divided into categories:  using copyrighted material to make a social, political or cultural critique; using copyrighted works to make a point in an argument; including copyrighted works as a byproduct of videoing some original work; and using copyrighted material to tell a historical story.


Use the category as a focus for your discussion, but for each, also ask students the following:


  • Why is the original work probably copyrighted?  What hints make you think it is?


  • What about the use falls under “fair use,” and what does not?



4.  Copyright and fair use—a critique (Exercise 7-3 in the textbook has a similar emphasis)


a.  Show this Disney parody video about copyright from Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University.


b.  Discuss.  Ask students to summarize fair use, public domain, and what can be copyrighted.

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