Guide to Using Hekman Library Online   |   Library Reopening Plans

Understanding Copyright

Copyright involves a complex network of legal protections for published works. While these are in place to restrict use of these works while protecting the rights of the creators, there are a few particular exemptions for educational use. Here are a few definitions of the major policies, standards, and tools to help you better understand copyright compliance:

  • Fair Use - allows the use of copyrighted works without permission under specific limitations for solely educational purposes (only brief excerpts, available for the duration of the course to only eligible students and instructors, with full attribution)
  • Public Domain - consists of works that are ineligible for copyright protection and are available to anyone to use without permission (typically, works published before 1924, works published between 1924-1964 but have not renewed their copyright, and works created by the US government or otherwise made available to public domain by their creators)
  • Creative Commons - specifically licensed works with levels of permission for use granted by the creators, which may require attribution and different restrictions on changing and sharing the work
  • Copyright Clearance Center license - provides reproduction and distribution rights for a large catalog of copyrighted materials (does not cover reproduction of entire works, the right to use or change a work, the right to use work for promotion, or the right to share beyond the campus community)
  • RightFind Academic - search tool to look up sources available under our CCC license

Related Pages:

Faculty Copyright Guide ­