“You own your own words.”

“You own your own words.” This is a famous statement that was a part of one of the famous early online communities, the WeLL, before there were terms of service statements and member agreements. This idea should guide your work for this class, whether on your solo or group assignments.

The WeLL’s website still has a page about it, which says:

The original intent of YOYOW was to serve as a disclaimer, reminding you that you were taking responsibility for your actions in the discussions. The phrase was later extended to clarify for members that no claims on your copyrights were being made by The WELL, and that you would be responsible for enforcing those rights: You own your own words. This means that you are responsible for the words that you post on the WELL and that reproduction of those words without your permission in any medium outside of the WELL’s conferencing system may be challenged by you, the author.

Please don’t cheat, steal, or represent other people’s work as your own. Do not take words verbatim without quoting them, and don’t paraphrase them without citing them. Do not use images without saying where they came from. I realize that many of us don’t read it unless we have to, but please take a look at the school’s Plagiarism & Student Cheating pages. One important aspect about media fluency is owning your own words and not taking those of others: we’ll even look at it critically as an issue in this class as we see what journalists and writers have done, on one hand, and what services like Turnitin.com do, on the other. If your work sounds too good, sounds too familiar or seems like something we’ve seen last year or in another section, we will check it. The consequences of plagiarism can be harsh. Please ask your professor or TA if you have any questions, even small ones, about how to write about, blog about or represent other people’s work within your own.