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Research Guides

Copyright and Fair Use: Best Practices

**This guide does not supply legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal counsel**

Avoiding Plagiarism



Investigating the copyright status of a work

There are several ways to investigate whether a work is under copyright protection and, if so, the facts of the copyright. These are the main ones:

  • Examine a copy of the work for such elements as a copyright notice, place and date of publication, author and publisher. If the work is a sound recording, examine the disk, tape cartridge, or cassette in which the recorded sound is fixed, or the album cover, sleeve, or container in which the recording is sold.
  • Make a search of the Copyright Office catalogs and other records or have the Copyright Office make a search for you
  • Meets the cumulative effect test as defined below; and,
  • Each copy includes a notice of copyright

Fair Use Code of Best Practices

Creating Online Content (faculty)

Resources for Online Writers

Using Video

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Digital Image Rights Calculator

What to do:

You may need to obtain copyright permission to:

  • Distribute a coursepack in print or electronic format
  • Post content on an e-learning system
  • Post content to an institution's intranet
  • Photocopy content for classroom use
  • Photocopy an article for library reserve
  • Borrow or lend material through ILL
  • Reproduce an out-of-print book
  • Use content in a private consulting engagement
  • Republish content in a dissertation
  • Use or republish content in university fundraising or recruiting, or in an exhibit
  • Conduct research for non-classroom use (e.g., during an instructor's private consulting engagement)

Books, articles, etc. that have been borrowed through interlibrary loan may NOT be placed on reserve

  • Personal copies of a book MAY be placed on reserve for your students to use