Copyright, copyleft & plagiarism

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

Learning Outcomes

Students develop and demonstrate honesty and integrity and ethical behaviour in their use of ICTs.

  • Students understand what copyright is and know ways to find content that can be remixed.
  • Students use creative commons licences for their own work.
  • Students understand what plagiarism is and use note taking tools to develop their own understanding of a topic.
  • Students know how to reference and cite the content and information they reuse.

NetSafe Digital Citizenship Definition: uses and develops critical thinking skills in cyberspace


Younger students

Icon activity.jpg
Give students a selection of images that are in copyright or that have a Creative Commons BY Attribution licence. Each should be marked with their credit bar or attribution and either a © or the CC-BY icon - available at from the Creative Commons website.

Creative Commons Kiwi video

A free content video streamed from Vimeo
Cc-by new1.svg

Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand.

With younger students, it is more important to encourage them to credit the original creators of a work than it is to enforce a referencing style. Discuss what copyright is and what the symbols mean and then encourage them to create something new using only the CC-BY images. Remind them to keep the credit bar either with the pictures they reuse or to make a list of all the credits together.

Older students

this slideshow from Creative Commons, Australia (near the bottom of the page) to discuss what copyright means and what it means for students as creators. Show the students how to find reusable content using the Google Advanced Search, DigitalNZ filters and any specific tool that they would be interested in. (for example: Jamendo and CCMixter for music, Vimeo for video, Flickr for images) You could also show them Creative Commons search engines such as Let'sCC  or Creative Commons Search.

Discuss with students that copying someone else’s text is just the same, and it’s called plagiarism. It is ok, however, to reuse and build on their ideas when we credit where they came from. Using techniques such as note taking, summarising and referencing makes this easier.

For ideas and templates for notetaking


Show some examples of digital content with their credit bars and licences and ask the students to say what they can do with it.


  • Is it ever ok to reuse other people’s work without telling them?
  • Is it ever ok for other people to use work that you created?
  • What’s the difference between copying a song and copying a paragraph from a website? Is there any?


Display these posters in your school:

Next time you have created a digital piece of work, choose and apply a licence that will show other people how you would like your work to be reused.

Create a collection of work that people in your school have created that have Creative Commons licences. Think of a way to encourage other people to reuse them.


Create a digital story using content from a variety of sources. Make sure that any content students use is either in the public domain or has a Creative Commons licence. Encourage them to take notes about where you find your content and who created it so they can make a list of these as part of their story. Lastly, let them give their work a Creative Commons licence.


  • Matt McGregor, Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Dorothy Burt, Pt England School
  • Esther Casey, National Library of New Zealand