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Library Workshops

This guide provides all the information used in Library Skills Lab or the Library Workshops.

What You Need to Know About Copyright

Fair Use

Various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

Use these 4 factors to tell if Fair Use applies:

  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
  • the nature of the copyrighted work.
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Warning: There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

Copyright

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works​

 

Copyright may be an issue when dealing with:

  • Journal articles, or excerpts from them
  • Books, or excerpts from them
  • Databases and electronic journals 
  • Musical works, scores, lyrics, and sound recordings
  • Pictorial/graphic works, art, sculpture, photographs
  • Audiovisual works, motion pictures, videos, video games
  • Computer software

Who owns the copyright to a work?

In most cases, the author or creator of the work is the copyright holder unless they have transferred the rights to someone else through a written agreement, such as a publishing agreement.

How can I tell if a work is still under copyright? How long does copyright last?
 

Depending upon when a work was created, it is subject to different requirements regarding copyright notice and registration, as well as different copyright terms. Under current U.S. law, copyright lasts until 70 years after the death of the author. For works made for hire, the copyright term is either 95 years from the date of publication, or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

 

Receive permission from the author of a work before using it

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