Skip to main content

Copyright Guidelines: Home

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The purpose of this guide is to provide faculty, staff, and students with an understanding of copyright law and fair use.

While copyright issues can be complex, everyone needs to understand the basics. Failure to comply with copyright law can lead to substantial legal penalties for both you and the university.

This guide also includes copyright and fair use compliance guidelines for faculty.

My thanks to Ingrid Redman at NYU Polytech for allowing me to copy much of this material from her original LibGuide.

Click on the tabs above or on the links below to navigate within this guide.

Copyright Symbol

A copyright notice or copyright symbol is an identifier placed on copies of the work to inform the world of copyright ownership. While use of a copyright notice was once required as a condition of copyright protection, it is now optional. Use of the copyright notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with the Copyright Office.

, About.com Guide

Copyright on Campus Video by Copyright Clearance Center

Copyright Law Defined

Copyright law, as defined in Title 17 of the United States Code, protects "original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression" for a limited period. Copyright protection includes, for instance, the legal right to publish and sell literary, artistic, or musical work, and copyright protects authors, publishers and producers, and the public.  Copyright applies both to traditional media (books, records, etc.) and to digital media (electronic journals, web sites, etc.). Copyright protects the following eight categories of works:

  1. literary works
  2. musical works
  3. dramatic works
  4. pantomimes and choreographic works
  5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  7. sound recordings
  8. architectural works

Ownership of a copyrighted work includes the right to control the use of that work. Use of such work by others during the term of the copyright requires either permission from the author or reliance on the doctrine of fair use. Failure to do one or the other will expose the user to a claim of copyright infringement for which the law provides remedies including payment of money damages to the copyright owner.