Copyright Law and Plagiarism Essay Example

In Kevin Goldman (2006) article «Rethinking the Bound of Copyright Protection,” the author argues that Congress actions are uniquely focused on increasing the duration of copyright and that instead of opposing such a trend, it should pass a policy that makes copyright renewable for an indefinite period.

This kind of proposition appears to be distasteful to other scholars like Jameson (2011) who consider the eventual expiry of copyright as a privilege to students in academic settings and artists in the business world to share knowledge, as the scope of plagiarism would be reduced. She appears to conceive the likelihood of repeated shortening of an extension of copyright expiry as increasing the scope of plagiarism eternally denying the students and artists an opportunity to share and improve knowledge, and to ultimately create their own knowledge.

Goldman uses an interesting analogy to support his argument. He uses an analogy of a child who learns who is taught to swim by a parent one distance to the next until he can eventually swim on his own without the need of a parent. The analogy is appropriate for the case of copyright law. The copyright law serves as the parent that provides artists significant freedom to use sections of protected works as the time of its creation through a number of doctrines like “fair use” whose sequential revisions by Congress takes students, or artists, a distance at a time until they are able to stand on their own like original creators of their independent works.

Yet still, Goldman appears to be more concerned about the sequential revision of the copyright law and its ultimate impacts on the creation of original works. He imagines how it is not possible to appreciate how life would be different if consistently revising the copyright law would not have permitted copyright owners to suggest a copyrighted plan designed to limit irrationality and increase social wealth by reinforcing the rights considered to be most significant for traditional content owners, yet at the same time protecting the appropriation rights most significant for consumers and subsequent artists.

At this juncture, Goldman argues that when copyright laws are made renewable for an indefinite period yet the scope of protection is narrowed to merely protect works that would substitute original works, realigning these rights and privileges are bound to replicate the ongoing trend of the Congress to sequentially renew copyright law and would get to take both interests of owners of copyrights and users of their content.

In sum, Goldman’s article has discussed how the copyright law evolves. He places focus on increasing duration of protection and scope of fair use. In other words, both interests of content creators and content consumers will be continually taken into perspective. In the article, Goldman has shown how it is vital that such trends be undertaken to their ends with a focus on a framework that allows renewal of copyright laws indefinitely, yet ensuring that there is significant protection against creation of works that can substitute original ones in the market.

Daphne Jameson (2011), in her article “Who Owns My Words? Intellectual Property Rights as a Business Issue” diverts from the duration of copyright law and dwells on a narrower topic of plagiarism. She appears to argue that while most learning institutions approach plagiarism as a moral issue, they should strive to improve students’ learning by approaching plagiarism as a dimension of the greater business sphere, which entails protecting intellectual property.

Therefore, she is more interested in business and academic interpretation of plagiarism and how this affects students. Jameson refers back to her previous article “The Ethics of Plagiarism: How Genre Affects Writers’ Use of Source Materials” (Jameson, 1993), where she showed how plagiarism is relative rather than absolute, as it is contingent on the genre, context, and the expectations of the audience. Placing her central argument within this context, she explains that academia and business world offer differing understanding, consent to and remedies for plagiarism and that making sure that students are aware of the differences can save them from confusions and possible unconscious violations.

In school settings, when the focus is placed on the wider ethical aspect of intellectual property rights, students are able to learn to identify and comply with ethical standards and legal requirements when they use intellectual property in both academic and business environments. Students also learn to about ethical issues linked to ownership, expressions, and authorship. Jameson further provides a case that point to how plagiarism could be interpreted. In the music industry, she refers to use of mash-up, or musical compositions made up of excerpts picked from other songs. She refers to the mash-up album called “All Day,” which was composed by Gregg Gillis in 2010. Gillis never obtained permission to use the song segments as he was convinced they fell under “fair use doctrine.” This is because the segments are brief, the song is non-commercial, and the manner in which the segments were creatively organized constituted a new creative work. Hence, the argument for plagiarism failed to hold.

In conclusion, while Goldman is concerned about renewal of copyright law to revise the scope of plagiarism by catering to the needs of both content creators and content consumers, Jameson is concerned about how colleges limitedly consider plagiarism to be a moral issue, and suggests that they should strive to improve students’ learning by approaching plagiarism as a dimension of the greater business sphere, which entails protecting intellectual property.


Goldman, K. (2006). Rethinking the bound of copyright protection. University of Pennsylvannia Law Review, 154 (3), 705-740.

Jameson, D. A. (1993). The ethics of plagiarism: How genre affects writers’ use of source materials. Bulletin of the Association for Business Communication, 56, 18-28.

Jameson, Daphne. (2011). «Who owns my words? Intellectual property rights as a business issue. Business Communication Quarterly, 74(2), 210-215.