Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Library Homepage College Homepage
Research Guides

Copyright and Fair Use: Introduction

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

Introduction

copyright symbol  Copyright and Fair Use 

Welcome! This guide provides information and resources on copyright law and how it relates to academic activities such as research, teaching, and publication.

This guide is meant to be a basic introduction to U.S. copyright law -- what it protects, how long it lasts, the rights it grants to authors, and its exceptions and limitations. 

Other parts of this guide provide further information on:

  • understanding and applying Fair Use
  • best practices
  • tools to help understand what to do when 

Copyright law affects numerous aspects of academic life -- if you don't find the answers you need here, please contact your attorney! 

THANK YOU ...

A BIG thank you to Kate Borowske at Hamline University who graciously gave permission to use her template for this guide.

In A Nut-Shell

 

 

Copyright is:

  • Federal law codified in Title 17 of the United States Code
  • Automatically generated whenever an original and "minimally" creative work is rendered in tangible form
  • An exclusive bundle of rights that allow you to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, or adapt your work
  • Maximized if you include a copyright symbol ©, year of publication, and your name
  • Increased if you register your work with the US Copyright Office (super important in litigation!)

 

Copyright protection is NOT

  • Applicable to works created by an employee of the US Government, acting within the scope of officialduties
  • Assigned to ideas, facts, theorems, laws of nature, punctuation, patents, trademarks, and lots of other categories
  • FOREVER -- however, copyright lasts a really, long time, so it feels like forever! 
  • Easy to understand

 

Fair use is:

  • An exception to copyright
  • Allowed under Section 107 of the US Copyright Act of 1976
  • Decided on a case to case basis
  • Unpredictable

      walnuts

"Walnuts" by RustedStrings,CC: BY-SA, 3.0

Your Librarian

Profile Photo
Laura Gricius-West
Contact:
Saint Anselm College | Geisel Library
100 St. Anselm Dr. #1746
Manchester, NH 03102
(603) 641-7292
Website