Preventing Visual Plagiarism
The definition of plagiarism in the visual arts is identical to what is typically thought of as plagiarism in written materials. That is, plagiarism is "the use in whole or in part of the work of others without crediting the source of the work through appropriate documentation"1, p. 12; 2. Although students are exposed to examples of plagiarism in written work, they may not understand how this information applies to their non-text based academic work. Thus, it is important to provide students with specific examples and direct teaching of what constitutes plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct in the visual arts.
Many of the suggestions for reducing plagiarism in General suggestions for increasing learning and decreasing dishonesty and Preventing dishonesty in written assignments can be applied to courses where much of the work is non-text-based. Academic staff may find it helpful to consult resources specific to the use of visual materials in academic work.
Resources for Using Visual Materials
- Architecture/Fine Arts Library, The University of Manitoba – The UM Libraries provide many resources for teaching students how to cite properly. Click here for a link to a guide for documenting images.
- Faculty of Architecture's Academic Integrity Statement
- UM Copyright Guidelines
- The College Art Association (CAA) is an international organization for the visual arts. The organization has developed a number of resources (e.g., slide decks) to promote best practices in the fair use of copyrighted materials. Please click here to link to the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use.
- The Visual Communication Guy - Dr. Curtis R. Newbold, Assistant Professor of Communication at Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT, has created and shares his resources for teachers of writing, communication, and design. Many of the teaching resources are in the form of edugraphics.
- The Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA provides several strategies for preventing visual plagiarism, including the submission of multiple-drafts of student work (i.e., sketches), providing direct instruction for citing images, and adding personalized components to assignments.
Interesting Reading about Visual Plagiarism
- Ethics in Graphic Design. Battling Visual Plagiarism.
- Editorial Photographers United Kingdom & Ireland. Visual plagiarism: when does inspiration become imitation?
- Design plagiarism: Myth or reality? written by Paul Wallen, a senior designer at ESPN the magazine, describes his personal experience with regards to visual plagiarism. He also poses the question, does visual plagiarism exist? Various designers have provided their views on the topic.
- University of Manitoba. Suggested Disciplinary Actions for Academic Dishonesty Infractions.
- University of Manitoba. Student Discipline Bylaw, University of Manitoba Act, Section #16(1)d. Gov. Doc. Students (2009). at <http://umanitoba.ca/admin/governance/governing_documents/students/student_discipline.html>