Student Integrity & Academic Honesty Policy

Student Integrity & Academic Honesty Policy

Academic integrity is a fundamental value upon which educational institutions are built. For learning to thrive, educational institutions cannot tolerate acts of academic dishonesty, such as cheating, misrepresentation, or plagiarism. Plagiarism constitutes the appropriation of another person’s exact words or original thoughts or writing without extending proper credit (using in-text citations and a works cited reference list) to the original source. As such, plagiarism exists as an illegal action—a type of theft that, in the business/ professional world, for example, could result in severe penalties against you. A grade of zero will be given on any assignment which has been plagiarized or when unauthorized resources were used. In addition, the matter will be referred to the school administration for appropriate action.

Martinsburg College expects honesty from students in presenting all of their work. It is expected that all students will adhere to the college policies and procedures. Students are required to submit only coursework and examinations which they have completed without any assistance from other individuals or aides. While communication with other students is encouraged, receiving or sharing any information regarding previous test questions and/or examination materials is strictly prohibited. Violations of these rules can result in dismissal from the program.

Policy on Copyrighted Material and Unauthorized Peer-to-Peer file Sharing

Unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject students to civil and criminal liabilities.

Any distribution of copyrighted material without proper licensing or permission from the owner/author/software manufacturer is prohibited by law and may subject students to civil and criminal liabilities. For more information, please review the information on the institution’s website here.

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement.

Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505.

Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

For more information, please visit the U.S. Copyright Office website, especially the FAQs section at

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing programs were developed to allow distribution and/or shared access to digitally stored information, such as computer programs, multimedia (music and video), documents, and/or electronic books. Examples of P2P file sharing programs include, but are not limited to, BitTorrent, Limewire, Kazaa, Gnutella, and Morpheus.

P2P file sharing programs are not necessarily illegal unless they aid in violating copyright laws by sharing copyright-protected files without authorization by the copyright owners. Most commercially produced music and movies are copyrighted and cannot be freely shared. Using P2P file sharing software to distribute copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder is illegal violates U.S. copyright laws. Students who engage in illegal downloading and/or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials while logged into the institutional classrooms will be subject to dismissal.