The following paragraphs were reprinted from "What is Plagiarism?" The complete version is available at

All of the following are considered plagiarism:

  • turning in someone else's work as your own
  • copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
  • copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)

Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism. See our page on "Citation & Plagiarism" for more information on how to cite sources properly.

As defined in the CSU Dominguez Hills Presidential Memorandum 1985-10:

Plagiarism is considered a gross violation of the University’s academic and disciplinary standards. Plagiarism includes the following: copying of one person’s work by another and claiming it as his or her own, false presentation of one’s self as the author or creator of a work, falsely taking credit for another person’s unique method of treatment or expression, falsely representing one’s self as the source of ideas or expression, or the presentation of someone else’s language, ideas, or works without giving that person due credit. It is not limited to written works. For example, one can plagiarize music compositions, photographs, works of art, choreography, computer programs, or any other unique creative effort.

Plagiarism is not the same as a copyright violation, though it is probable that a copyright has been violated in the act of plagiarism. Whereas a copyright infraction is a violation of federal law, subject to trial and fines, in an academic environment the consequence of plagiarism is determined by campus policy. The plagiarizer can be subject to both copyright and plagiarism investigations, hearings, and punishment.

Other references: