Net Know How


It is better to deserve honors and not have them,
than to have them and not deserve them.”
Mark Twain

For direct links to the Directorate of Copyright and more, see our ‘Net Resources
1. Basically what is copyright law all about?
Copyright law was created to protect creators of original material. The law provides a way of determining “who gets paid” for their original work. It also provides “who pays” for use of that original work.

2. What is protected by copyright law?
literary works
dramatic works
artistic works
sound recordings
performer’s performances
communication signals
3. Who benefits from copyright law?
Copyright law protects the person or groups of persons who create original material — it establishes ownership.

4. How long does copyright protection last?
Some materials have a special term of copyright protection. However, the general ruleis that copyright protection lasts for the life of the creator of the work plus 50 years after the creator dies. After this time passes, in most cases, the work becomes part of the public domain.

5. What legal rights are provided to the creator of an original work?
In general, copyright ownership gives someone the legal authority, under an agreement, to set contracts with others (whether for a fee or for free) as to who uses their copyrighted material, how it may be used and for how long. While many rights are covered within copyright law, of interest to educators using the Internet (for information gathering or electronic publishing) are the following rights held by copyright owners:

the right to copy — including the printing of material
the right to communciate to the public by telecommunications
6. What exceptions or limitations are there to the rights of copyright owners?
Sometimes exceptions will be made, within copyright law, and are generally granted to specific groups that work to benefit the public good; that is, organizations that can prove they serve the best interests of the public. Through these exceptions, the Government may give authority for specific groups to have the right to use copyrighted works without asking permission and without paying for the use of those works.

7. What are the consequences when copyright law is broken?
When copyright law is broken it is called copyright infringement. Using material without the authorization of the copyright owner may result in some form of legal action, such as claims for damages, injunctions to prevent use, etc.

This brief overview addresses key questions concerning Canadian Copyright Law in general, so that you can determine how they affect you. This represents a summary of a presentation made (June 8, 2001) by Wanda Noel, lawyer and author.

What is plagiarism? Plagiarism, like cheating, is an act that directly challenges the concept of intellectual honesty. It occurs when a person….

hands in someone else’s work as their own. This applies to direct presentation of someone else’s work, a paraphrase of their work, or even direct inclusion of turns of phrase from someone else’s writing. In these instances, the plagiarism is most likely intentional.
cites sources improperly. Again, this applies to direct quotations, paraphrased ideas, and even turns of phrase. In these instances, the plagiarism may well be unintentional, but it is still plagiarism nonetheless.
What is the significance of plagiarism, within the K-12 classroom context?

Through intellectual honesty, appropriately recognizing and crediting each other’s ideas, we not only substantiate each other’s work, but together provide a stronger basis for the development of future ideas.
Plagiarism, whether intentional or not, directly works against principles of intellectual honesty.
We must actively foster intellectual honesty among our students if they are to become “caring, creative, self-reliant and contributing members of a knowledge-based and prosperous society.” (Alberta Education)
Intellectual honesty is at the core of advancement in academic scholarship at post-secondary and professional levels. For this reason, plagiarism at the post-secondary level is not tolerated and is subject to severe penalties.
Educators at the K-12 level must create environments for learning within their classrooms that openly promote and support the culture of life-long intellectual honesty. If plagiarism or cheating occurs at any time, consequences can include a course of action that will not only discourage future infractions but also educate and support the student in engaging in more appropriate behavior in the future.
Although meeting intentional (or even non-intentional) plagiarism head-on with punitive measures drives home the point that intellectual dishonesty is not to be tolerated within our culture, this might not address the larger issue of how students can learn to share their ideas with pride and with confidence, with the understanding that mutual knowledge construction is a good thing.
To promote intellectual honesty in K-12 classes is to promote courses of action consistent with the larger ethical values that drive our evolving society.
If you are a teacher or student concerned about plagiarism, this section of can provide you with some teacher-tested strategies and other practical resources

to explore and honor the reality of mutual knowledge construction
to minimize the chances of plagiarism tempting your students
to deal with students whose work you suspect of being plagiarized
to support students in the responsible use of web and other resources
to provide students with note-taking and paraphrasing techniques
to support students in proper citation of resources

In the past, we provided our students with opportunities to learn curriculum–with whatever guidance and support we could give them to keep that learning experience authentic, on track, ethically sound, and timely. We might not have taught concepts such as intellectual honesty openly, but we still modeled it.
When students conducted library research, we provided them with worksheets to help them maintain a list of resources and guides to help them format footnotes and a bibliography.

Plagiarism wasn’t such a huge issue for teachers because we were able to create learning situations that weren’t conducive to plagiarism. We have…

shaped the learning environments to promote student learning, providing a structure that minimized plagiarism by:
enriching the activities we engaged our students in by providing them with pre-culled resources that supported their exploration of a topic.
providing students with resources that are ethically sound–drawing from authorized learning resources, and integrating other resources, such as local newspapers, that are deemed appropriate by our community.
allowing our students opportunities to discuss and practise concepts as they familiarize themselves with new ideas and processes.
kept the work we have assigned our students “on track” by providing them with assignments closely associated with the curricular goals we meet.
dealt with suspected plagiarism. We are often familiar enough with our students’ use of diction and style to confront them when a submitted assignment appears in an unfamiliar voice–and in many cases, we’re already aware of the resources students turn to when looking for quick information to copy into an assignment. Students are aware of the consequences of plagiarism, and since the risk of exposure is significant, only a small number of students end up attempting to pass off other people’s work as their own.
Today… on the ‘Net, at home in the evenings, many students are spending time chatting with friends.

For better…
This can be extremely constructive: two or more students can work on their research at home in the evening, compiling web resources through their conversations and parallel resource investigations online. They have extended their classroom interactions both with resources and with each other into their homes, with ease.

For worse…
The culture of students on the ‘Net operates at many levels…it is as easy for students to pass around inappropriate information as it is for them to collaborate constructively.

Today… on the ‘Net, students can quickly access resource materials to support them in their research.

For better…
Students can tap into a world of resources that can provide them with timely and pertinent ideas and data to support their learning (teleresearch).
Because information and contacts are freely available, it is not a difficult task for students to link up and even converse with like-minded people, whose ideas they can use to validate and challenge their own thinking (telementoring).
Sifting through web resources, evaluating them for authenticity, quality, and usefulness before integrating ideas into their own work, challenges students to hone effective critical thinking skills within a real-world context.
Practise taking notes from web resources and citing resources correctly can better prepare students to tap into this new world of resources without falling prey to the temptation to copy them.

For worse…
Students can very quickly access inappropriate resources that they might not realize lack the quality and credibility of approved resources at school.
Students can very quickly access resources that they might choose to pass off as their own work. Simple searching on keywords in essay topics can provide students with other people’s work that they can easily copy/paste into their word processor, making some minor edits before submitting it to their teacher. It can become tempting for some students to plagiarize.

Today… on the ‘Net, there are even specific homework help and other resource hubs that provide students with onramps to resources.

For better…’s ABC, Kids Love and for Teens provide such onramps for students. Unlike other homework help sites, these sites provide quick onramps to the daily growing teacher-created curricular-focused resources at also provides practical resources and online tools to support students at various stages of the research process.

For worse…
Some resource sites are designed specifically to expedite student access to term papers and other resource materials that they can pass off as their own. Some of these sites provide materials for a fee; others are “free”.

The ‘Net itself provides ways of tracing information quickly and thoroughly.

For better…
Sophisticated search engines are adept at returning reliable results when you search on a specific phrase found in a composition, entering the phrase “in quotation marks”.’s Plagiarism Sleuth search tool provides a quick onramp to tested quality search-string searching on the web.

For worse…
Some sites are designed to support educators in identifying plagiarized material. For example, students can be called upon to submit work to a site that checks their work for plagiarized material before students submit their work for grading. The site then retains the student’s work in its database, so later submitted material can be checked against the growing collection of work. To what extent does this process protect the privacy and respect the owner of the original content?

No longer simply a highway of information, the internet has brought upon today’s world a new information age. And with 40 percent of the world on the internet today, nearly half of all people throughout the planet have been united under a single, common language.

All 3.4 billion of us are citizens of the internet, quite literally. And navigating this world can be a difficult journey for many, especially for those just joining the ranks of the web savvy. That’s where we come in.
Digital citizenship is described as the action of actively engaging with your fellow users through the effective utilization of information technologies. This could range from something as simple as starting a Facebook page or commenting on a message board all the way to online journalism, like blogging, or more sophisticated forms of information exchange.

Whenever anybody so much as signs up for an email address, they become ratified as citizens of the internet. Though this is often considered one of the simplest functions of the internet as a means of communication, this is a vital first step into becoming engaged with your fellow internet user.

This site will deal with the topic of using these technologies as efficiently as possible. With insightful articles, various pieces of research on the topic and resources for those just beginning to use their citizenship to interact with the rest of the world. From the basic act of static deliberations, such as participating in basic online discourses such as polls or message boards, all the way to dynamic deliberations such as with content creation, we provide the know-how to provide you sufficient background to not just make your way through this world, but to gain fluency.

Consider ourselves as your road to naturalizing yourself as a true citizen of the World Wide Web.