High School
Digital Citizenship Lesson

Copyright and Plagiarism

Essential Question

How can I make responsible choices when I use other people's creative work?

Key Vocabulary

Fair Use:  the ability to use copyrighted work without permission, but only in certain ways and in specific situations (schoolwork and education, news reporting, criticizing or commenting on something, and comedy/parody)

Copyright: a law that protects a creator’s ownership of and control over the work he or she creates, requiring other people to get the creator’s permission before they copy, share, or perform that work

Creative Commons: a kind of copyright that makes it easy for people to copy, share, and build on someone’s creative work – as long as they give the creator credit for it

Public Domain: creative work that’s not copyrighted and therefore free for you to use however you want remix or mash-up: editing together clips of video, sound, images, and text by “remixing” or “mashing” different parts together to create something new

Class Discussion

1- What do you think we mean when we talk about someone’s creative work?

2- Have you ever used creative work you found online, a photo or a poem, for personal use?

3- When you use creative work you find online, what considerations do you make about it, if any?

Video Activity
Copyright and Fair Use Video

Table Groups Discussion

  1. What are the ways you can be respectful of people’s creative work?
  2. How do you think you would feel if someone used your creative work? Would it make a different whether they did the following:
    1. Asked your permission to use it?
    2. Gave you credit as the creator?
    3. Changed the picture or added a caption without asking you?


Huseman D'Annunzio, Melissa. N.p., 2015. Web. 21 June 2015.

Table Group Discussion

Why do you think that plagiarism is considered to be such a serious offense in the academic community? What do you think are the most important reasons to avoid plagiarism?

Extension Activity

Develop a tag line for an ad campaign using a picture of a product you have chosen. Consider examples of tag lines, such as “I’m lovin’ it™” for McDonalds or “Just Do It™” for Nike. Understand that a tag line is a slogan or memorable phrase used in advertising that sums up the tone of a brand, product, or campaign. Make a sample billboard or magazine ad featuring the photo and tag line. You can chose to create online or with paper and markers/colored pencils.  Present your ad campaigns to the class.