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Writing Your Manuscript: Copyright & Plagiarism

What is Copyright?

Copyright is the legal "right to copy" a work.The Copyright Act of Canada bars others not primarily involved in the creation of the work from claiming, profiting from, and distributing it.

The  Conditions for Copyright are as follows:

  1. the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.

 Copyright protection often extends to fifty years after the death of the creator in Canada. After copyright on a work expires, it becomes part of the public domain.  

Benefits (and Limits) of Copyright

The Copyright Act states that a certificate of registration of copyright is evidence that copyright exists and that the person registered is the owner of the copyright. However, the Copyright Office is not responsible for policing or checking on registered works and how people use them. It also cannot guarantee that the legitimacy of ownership or the originality of a work will never be questioned.

To file for Copyright, authors must visit the CIPO (Canadian Intellectual Property Office). The CIPO website has online forms and databases that allow users to search for copyrights, register a copyright, and even transfer ownership. It also lays out the conditions/circumstances for copyright.

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act or practice of knowingly copying, pirating or claiming another's primary work, idea or research. Plagiarism also includes indirectly failing to give credit for collected evidence and research that is not the primary work of the author.

While plagiarism may not always be deliberate, in practice, and on principle, it is frowned upon in academia and research, and can lead to the loss of credibility, employment, and may even have legal and financial repercussions.

For more information on Research Integrity and UHN Policies: Publication Ethics.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Tips to avoid plagiarism 
  •  Always credit primary sources of evidence, ideas and facts; keep track of these through both in-text citations and bibliographic/reference lists.
  • Have your work Peer-Reviewed (vetted/edited by a colleague or someone in the subject field).
  • There are software and apps that allow researchers to upload texts to cross-check against similarly worded/phrased texts that have been published (SEE side links).