Copyright & Plagiarism Protocol
All work submitted to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards must be original, meaning you create the work based on your own ideas. By submitting work to the Awards, you agree that you created it and did not copy it from any other person, business, school, or organization.
Please review our Copyright & Plagiarism Guidelines to learn what we mean when we say original before you submit your work. You must agree to these guidelines and our Participation Terms when you enter the Awards.
What happens if my work violates this policy?
The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the non-profit organization that presents the Awards, works with partners across the country to process entries and award the best original works. When we select the award winners, we work hard to identify any work that may violate our policy to make sure these works don’t get awards.
- Judges look for work that is original and flag works that may not be for review.
- Regional programs search for and report works that appear to violate our terms.
- Art entries that are selected for a Gold Key are scanned by a reverse image search engine to see if they were copied from other images on the internet.
- All art and writing works that are considered for a national medal are reviewed for potential copyright violations by an independent third party.
No system is foolproof, and with more than 300,000 works entered each year, we may not catch every violation before the Awards are announced. If we give an award to a student and later discover that it may violate our terms, we will investigate the work.
The Alliance may revoke a student’s participation in the Awards and take back or cancel any awards made by the Alliance if we determine that a submission does not meet the requirements of our terms and guidelines. Any participant whose award is taken back or cancelled may not identify himself or herself as the recipient of an award from the Alliance.
How do I report a work that may be plagiarized?
If you suspect that a work was copied from another source or was plagiarized, please let us know by emailing us at email@example.com. We will thoroughly investigate to determine if the work violates our participation terms. It may take three to four weeks to investigate a claim and reach a decision. Because of student privacy concerns, we may not be able to follow-up with you to report on the outcome of our investigation.
During the investigation, please don’t publicize information about the claim on social media. This could compromise the investigation, and more importantly, publicizing information about our teenage participants could lead to online harassment. If you are being bullied online or at school, talk to an adult you trust or visit the STOMP Out Bullying HelpChat Line at stompoutbullying.org/helpchat.
What if my original work was copied by another student?
If you suspect that a work that received a Scholastic Award was copied from your art or writing, please let us know by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will investigate to determine if the work violates our participation terms.
Copyright & Plagiarism Investigations
When a potential violation is brought to our attention, we immediately log the work and begin an investigation. The entire process may take three to four weeks.
Our customer service team will gather information, including a side-by-side comparison of the work and alleged sources, notes from the jurors who first reviewed the work, and any sources that were cited on the entry form.
Sometimes we will inform the student that their work is being investigated and ask them to provide more information. Other times we may already have the information that we need to review the claim.
A committee of Alliance staff, including the Executive Director and programs leadership, meets regularly to review claims. They will consider:
- Is the work new and different from what others have created?
- Would the average person notice substantial similarities between the submitted work and the source material?
- If the student used source material, did they cite their source(s) and does their work add value, substantially change, comment on, or give a new expression or meaning to the source?
The committee will make a decision; in rare cases, the committee may ask for more information or may consult legal representation before reaching a final decision.
If the committee determines a work does not violate our terms, no further action is taken. If the student was notified about the investigation, we will let them know that it is concluded and that their award status is unchanged.
If the committee determines that a work violates our terms, the student’s award will be revoked and removed from any exhibitions or online publications. We will send the student an official letter informing them of this decision. A copy of this letter will also be sent to the student’s regional program, their educator, their school, and their parent or guardian. We may also invite the student to a voluntary meeting to address some of the outcomes of the student’s actions and to answer any lingering questions they may have. The following people will be invited for this optional meeting: the student’s regional program coordinator, their educator, their parent or guardian, and the original creator of the work.
Can I appeal the decision if my award was revoked?
Yes! To appeal a decision if your award was revoked, please complete the following form and submit it to email@example.com within 30 days after you receive the official revocation letter. It may take up to six weeks to process an appeal.