Plagiarism, presentations, training and business

Plagiarism, presentations, training and business websites

Do not copyWe all know that it is wrong to copy someone else’s work without out proper attribution. But then we only usually copy or use a very small part of that book or article.   Don’t we?

Plagiarism – a definition

Plagiarism is the “wrongful appropriation” and “purloining and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions,” and the representation of them as one’s own original work – Wikipedia

If you produced something you were proud of, and someone took that and used it in their entirety I’m guessing you would not be very happy?

Well this is what many, many of us in the presentation and world of learning and development do. We use people pictures and images. It’s the “wrongful appropriation” of images.

Having been bitten last year by a contributor to my site posting a (c) picture without permission, this has made me a little over sensitive. But then if you had an invoice for over £400 ($600) for something you did not use, you might be sensitive too!

When developing a presentation it’s important that we use images that we have had permission for, or at least can be used. Having said that a reference and acknowledgement to the source is always a good idea!

Some would say that Plagerism is when you do not say where you took it from.

And copyright infringement is when you take it(& use it) without permission.

Copyright and images

Basically if you did not draw or take the picture yourself, then the chances are the image is someone else’s copyright. That is, unless you BOUGHT the image from an appropriate site. If you are using the image for anything to do with your business, as an employee IN a business then be legal.

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You can use the images that come as clipart from Microsoft for example, or Corel, or one of the other drawing packages.

But as a rule of thumb – do not download from the web and use.

Famous people

If you are looking for images of famous people, the chances are the image is protected by the photographer. One way to use a person’s image is to use the image of the cover of a book or advert they are in – use the image in its entirety. As few commercial firms are likely to complain about you promoting their product (esp if the tone is not derogatory or slanderous about the person). For example:

tony-blair-a-journeybill-gates-impatient optimist-book
The risk of downloading similar images of the person themselves is that the image is likely to be owned by a large photo stock house

Get your own images

Mistock photographyHiring a professional photographer and models can be expensive, On the plus side, you will end up with unique images.

There are innovative projects around, such as the mi-stock initiative from Quicklearn where a number of small business owners get together and are in effect each other’s “models”. For example this image to the left.

This is a great cost effective solution to having custom images.

Images are increasingly important

With the growth of social media, GooglePlus, Instragram and Pinterest etc, images are increasingly important for our business and the messages we want to communicate to employees, customers and potential customers and employees.

Having standard, used 1000 times images may look good quality, but once seen are not associated with you and your company. It’s lazy. Sure most of us do not have an unlimited budget. But do invest in images. As long as the style fits with your values, even DIY images will work for you. But of course professional will always be better.

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Jeff Bullas has this great piece on the use of images on marketing info, but the same reasons can apply equally to any communications channel. After all we are “marketing” to employees with our communications too!

In the article he gives 6 Reasons Why Images are Important

  1. Articles with images get 94% more total views
  2. Including a Photo and a video in a press release increases views by over 45%
  3. 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results
  4. In an ecommerce site, 67% of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product
  5. In an online store, customers think that the quality of a products image is more important than product-specific information (63%), a long description (54%) and ratings and reviews (53%)
  6. Engagement rate on Facebook for photos averages 0.37% where text only is 0.27% (this translates to a 37% higher level of engagement for photos over text)



Increasingly the world of online is becoming graphics and photo based – you need to decide how you are going to meet this need – legally – or illegally  putting you and your business at risk.

One major international organisation I have been working with recently had to undertake a complete review of the images they were using for “internal” presentations, as it transpired they were sometimes being used externally, thus putting the organisation at risk!


Don’t let copyright or Plagiarism ruin your business or reputation
Do not treat the info on this page on plagiarism and copyright as legal advice – check with your lawyer

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About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is founder of RapidBI
Mike is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance.
Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy.
Check out his linkedin profile

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