Notes 4

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4. Intellectual Property

This week, we are looking at intellectual property rights - what they are, who has them, and what can be protected.

With computers and particularly with web technology, there has been a significant increase in attention to intellectual property. Because of the ease of access to information and the ability to duplicate and store vast amounts of data, more people have concerns about their rights to it.

Instructors are very concerned about students doing original research and writing for the assignments they submit. Of course you want to get a good grade, but learning something will more important to you in the long term.


In this module, students

  • understand concepts of plagiarism
  • develop and understanding of the issues through discussion participation
  • support discussion points based on reading and research
  • use the wiki formatting and editing functions

Study Guide: Intellectual Property

These notes are guides to reading and studying the chapter of the textbook assigned for this module. Here are some questions to get you thinking about the important concepts and information.

  • What is intellectual property? Do you have any? What about your solutions to homework assignments? Essays for other courses?
  • Do you respect other people's copyrights? Have you copied music or videos? Software? Is that ok?
  • Do you understand the "fair-use" doctrine and when it applies?
  • How big a problem is software piracy? In the US? Elsewhere in the world? Is piracy a disincentive for software developers? What can be done about piracy?
  • Do you agree with Nicholas Negroponte that copyright law will disintegrate? Or do you agree that a balanced solution can be found as Pamela Samuelson suggests?
  • Is Open Source the way of the future? Can this software development model survive? Or will people spoil the idea of sharing for their personal gain?

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Here is a sample statement from a community college instructor.

Plagiarism is not acceptable. Plagiarism refers to using other peoples' words and ideas as your own, either verbatim or by close paraphrasing without providing necessary quotation marks and/or citations. If you quote or closely paraphrase material from the textbook, Internet or other material, you must use quotation marks if appropriate and cite the source. You may cite the source by embedding it in the text of the paper. Do this by listing, in parentheses and immediately after the quoted or paraphrased material, either the text and pertinent page number(s) or the Internet URL. If you use a different source, then it needs to be cited in the content of your paper, and you must include a works cited page at the end of your paper.

DO NOT PLAGIARIZE; PLAGIARISM MERITS AN AUTOMATIC "F" OR "0" ON THE ASSIGNMENT. CONTINUED PLAGIARISM MERITS AN "F" GRADE IN THE COURSE. If you are not clear on what plagiarism is, I recommend this short essay with examples written by sociologist Earl Babbie and found at the following site:

Students Rebel Against Database Designed to Thwart Plagiarists

21st century Information Literacy Project

Digital Information Fluency (DIF) is the ability to find, evaluate and use digital information effectively, efficiently and ethically. DIF involves knowing how digital information is different from print information; having the skills to use specialized tools for finding digital information; and developing the dispositions needed in the digital information environment.


  • MicroModules are self-paced, on-demand learning experiences each tailored to a specific topic. They are designed as 10-15 minute tutorials. Many MicroModules contain audio and/or video segments to communicate key concepts.

Copyright and Fair Use Resources