GUIDE TO COPYRIGHT
"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution)
Copyright law in the United States is rooted in the desire to capture and leverage expressions of new ideas. At the same time, copyright law recognizes that the impetus to create is based on the ability to access already existing expressions of intellectual creativity and use them as platforms upon which we create anew. In addition, copyright law also provides mechanisms that allow us to use existing expressions of ideas to voice opinion, criticism, and dissent.
The academic scholarship and educational endeavors of our institution are based upon the capacity to create and distribute ideas. Most often these ideas have been captured and recorded, whether as literary works in traditional formats, or with the advent of technologies, in multiple electronic formats, and even as re-contextualized content that is examined from a scholarly perspective or used to educate. How do faculty and students keep abreast of the application of copyright law in their writing, research, instruction and education?
This purpose of this guide is to provide our faculty, students, staff and others in our community an understanding of copyright law and it's proper application in an academic environment. A better understanding and application of copyright law both avoids potential legal issues and makes us all better stewards of the intellectual property of others.
If you have material you wish to use but are unsure of what to do about copyright. Here are some simple steps to help you determine what to do.
1. Determine if you are dealing with a copyrighted work.
Is the work in the public domain? Works in the public domain are no longer protected by copyright. Generally works created prior to 1923 are in the public domain. See the public domain tab to learn how to identify these works.
2. If the work is copyrighted, then you need to pursue these paths.
If licensed and your use is permitted by that license, proceed as the license permits.
3. If none of the above allows you to use a copyrighted work, then you must permission to use the work.
This guide provides detailed information and guidance on everything discussed above. Also available are tutorials, tools and additional resources.