Plagiarism: From School to the Real World

This dissertation examines the ambiguous copyright laws in America and how they affect artists. The work links early English pedagogy, primarily first year college students, and real-world applications of plagiarism and its consequences. By chronicling the development of copyright law in America, and outlining the processes one must undergo to clear samples for music, the work shows how artists take part in a gray area of music. The paper examines the moral and criminal dilemma of taking another artist's work and what constitutes sampling. Weighing the monetary requirements, the creativity and the social variables needed to successfully use samples in modern music, the paper dissects a successful sample. By using Hip-Hop, which is a widely digested genre of music amongst college students, to connect habits formed in college to real world legal cases, the paper strives to make the concept more accessible to students. While some view copyright laws a necessary defense against the theft of an artist's work, others see it as a stifling barrier to the growth of music. With the warring ideas in mind, students are shown that whichever school of thought they subscribe to, they must first understand and master the rules of plagiarism.