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ARTG 3316 Graphic Design 3: Copyright Law in the Visual Arts

This is a library guide dealing with copyright issues, made specifically with the visual arts in mind.

Copyright and Fair Use Basics

Copyright Law of the United States of America

How do I obtain permission to use something that’s copyrighted?

Creative Commons

What Is Not Protected by Copyright?

Several categories of material are generally not eligible for federal copyright protection. These include among others:


• works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression (for example, choreographic works that have  not been notated or recorded, or improvisational speeches  or performances that have not been written or recorded)


• titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation,  lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents


• ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries, or devices, as distinguished from a description, explanation, or illustration


• works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts,  tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)


Fair Use

These resources offer general interpretations of copyright law and fair use. Not to be used as legal advice. It seems that there are two ways to make certain you are following fair use: one is through a court ruling in your favor, the other is doing your best to follow fair use and not get sued.

Public Domain

Cost of Reading User Agreements

Source: Madrigal, A. C. (2012, March 1). Reading the Privacy Policies You Encounter in a Year Would Take 76 Work Days: So, it's a good thing no one reads them! The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved from

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts

What UTEP resources can I use to learn more about Copyright?

Fair Use: What is Transformative?


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