International Law

US Copyright Law Against Paraphrasing Of Copyrighted Materal

And, if we talk about paraphrasing copyrighted material, the US has some very strict laws against paraphrasing copyrighted work.

This Article explains US Copyright Law Against Paraphrasing Of Copyrighted Material


The United States (US) hosts the greatest number of international students in the world. Sometimes, when a US student paraphrases other people’s works, he/she notices that there are still some traces of plagiarism left behind.

This can cause very serious consequences for them. And, if we talk about paraphrasing copyrighted material, the US has some very strict laws against paraphrasing copyrighted work.

The copyrighted material is the work that another person cannot use without the real author’s permission. And if someone is caught paraphrasing copyrighted content, then there are some US laws applied to it.

So, in this article, we are going to shed light on the US copyright laws against paraphrasing copyrighted material.

What is Paraphrasing?

Paraphrasing is the process of restating someone else written work in own words without changing the context. It involves changing words with synonyms, restructuring sentences, and also breaking the sentences or joining them.

This technique is used to avoid plagiarism in the text because when someone copies others’ content and uses it as his/her own without crediting it, it is considered plagiarism.

However, some students lack knowledge or vocabulary and can’t able to paraphrase effectively, which doesn’t remove the plagiarism completely. This causes several issues for them, which we will discuss next.

US Copyright Law Against Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing copyrighted material isn’t allowed in the US. Even using some parts of the copyrighted text isn’t allowed unless you have to take permission from the real author and give credit.

So, when someone breaks a US copyright infringement law, there are some consequences that he/she might face. The laws and the consequences that apply are listed below.

  • Civil penalties can include having to pay damages to the owner of the copyrighted work. These civil penalties for copyright infringement are applied under the Copyright Law of the United States, which is Title 17 of the United States Code.
  • Willful copyright infringement can result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. Specifically, these penalties are set out in Section 506 of Title 17, which deals with criminal offenses related to copyright infringement.
  • In addition to legal consequences, copyright infringement can also damage a person’s reputation. Damage to a person’s reputation is not a legal consequence that is imposed by any specific sector of US law. Instead, it is a potential social consequence that can result from being found guilty of copyright infringement.

Remember, the points we mentioned earlier explain how US laws apply to paraphrasing. If you paraphrase someone else’s work too closely, it can be considered copyright infringement, which is against the law. However, if you only use general ideas or themes from someone else’s work, it might not be against the law. 

Ways to Effectively Paraphrasing

Now, you might be wondering how you can save yourself from these consequences. So, in this scenario, you should learn about paraphrasing and how you can effectively do that.

If you don’t know about it, there are some best ways that can help you to effectively paraphrase content.

Note: The method we are discussing is only helpful if you are using some part of the text of other people, not for whole articles or blogs.

Give Proper Citations and Quotations

This method can be tricky. In this method, you have to cite the information properly by crediting the real source (author). For this, you have to save those sources from where you are taking the information, like if it’s an online website or PDF, then you can save its URL.

This will help you cite the information properly and also mention the real author’s name.

On the other hand, in the quotation method, you can refer to the real author by using quotation marks (“”). In this method, you have to do the same work as did in the citation method, provide the author’s name, and give a full reference at the end of the write-up.

Both these methods will help you save yourself from the consequences.

Use Online Paraphrasing Tool

This is one of the easiest methods that can help you paraphrase the text effectively. In this method, you can use an online paraphrasing tool and rephrase the specific text that is copyrighted (taken from another source).

A paraphrasing tool uses highly advanced AI-powered algorithms that work to analyze the text and replace words with appropriate synonyms and also restructure sentences in order to make it completely a new version with the same context.

Create Completely a New Version

Another way to avoid these consequences is by creating a completely new version of the text. You can take an idea from someone else written work and write it in your own words.

This might be difficult for you, but this will help you get a better understanding of the topic, and also you will save yourself from any copyright law.


In the United States, paraphrasing copyrighted material can be problematic. There are chances that you might be convicted of plagiarism or breaking copyright laws if you paraphrase copyright material without permission. This can lead to very serious consequences if didn’t give proper attention.

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