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What is Visual Plagiarism?

Use this guide to learn about visual plagiarism


This guide will help you understand what Visual Plagiarism is and how to avoid it. Visual Plagiarism can also be known as Art Theft. When one uses either term, they are referring to the taking of someone else's artwork or design and claiming it as one's own. This can include artwork like drawing, painting, sculpture, and photography, as well as advertisements, logos, brand names, and other visual imagery.​ Additionally, you will learn about the grey areas in design known as pastiche, homage, and parody in regard to another’s creative visual material, as well as the ethical and legal implications. Images used for examples on this guide were either found using a Creative Commons search, permission from the creator, or in the public domain.

The sources listed on this page were used to create the guide on Visual Plagiarism.  Each source will provide more detailed information than what is provided on this guide.  Some sources may be found in print either in book or journal form.  Journal articles available online through MSU's databases and e-journal subscriptions will need to use a NetID and password for faculty, staff and students.  For online (internet) sources, follow the link provided. 

Books in the CAAD Library

Reference Books:  

These books may be used in the CAAD Library.

Circulating Books:

You may check these books out of the library.


Journal Articles

The articles listed below can be found in the CAAD Library in print form.  You will use the title of the journal to locate alphabetically, in bound journals.  Then use the volume, issue number, and page numbers to locate the article.

Curtis, William, "Principle V Pastiche: Perspectives on Some Recent Classicisms" Architectural Review 176 no. 8 (1984): 11-21.

  • Read the entire issue.  This issue of AR is dedicated to plagiarism in architecture.