Editorial Help Desk

Your Resource for Grammar and
MCPS Style

Word of the Month

Arbiter. noun.
A person who settles a dispute or has absolute authority in a matter.
Example: The principal is the ultimate arbiter of disputes in our school. 

A person whose views or actions have great influence over trends in social behavior.
Example: Rihanna's followers on Instagram agree that she is an arbiter of fashion. 


Tip of the Month

How does copyright affect my work?

Let’s say you may need to make copies of some helpful information you found in a publication, to share with colleagues in the office, for presentation to students in a class, to help explain something in a document you are writing, or to post online. Well, there are basic rules to be aware of regarding copyright law in the United States.

If you wish to use a specific work, word for word, you must credit the author(s) by adding their name and information about their work (also known as a citation) right after you present their work as part of a graphic (see sample here) or in a reference list (see samples here). 

Here is more important information on copyright (taken from chapter 4 of the Chicago Manual of Style,17thedition):

  • The author of a work possesses copyright (along with various subrights) at the time the work is created. The author can sell, rent, give away, will, or transfer rights to whomever the author wishes. Authors normally transfer some or all of these rights to the publisher in a contract. 
  • Copyright protection of a work does not require registering it at the United States Copyright Office.
  • It is no longer necessary to put a copyright notice on a work in order for it to be protected. However, such notices may discourage others from stealing or plagiarizing the work. 
  • Anything posted on the internet is “published” in the sense of copyright and must be treated as such for the purposes of complete citation and clearance of permissions, if relevant. 

Acknowledging someone for their hard work is not only courteous and thoughtful, it’s the lawful thing to do.

When in doubt, contact the Editorial Help Desk for help (Donna_M_Marks@mcpsmd.org)
or call 240-740-2971.

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