Intellectual Property & Copyright

Intellectual property rights are a group of rights that protect creative works including copyright, trademarks, and patents.  It is important to consider and respect the intellectual property rights of others as you build upon or use their work to inform your own for ethical and legal reasons.  consideration for authors that you would want others to have for your works.

Copyright grants authors or other creators of works in tangible media (or the individual or organization to whom copyright has been assigned) the ability to control the reproduction, publication, adaptation, exhibition, or performance of their works.

When you are trying to determine if you can use a work in your project, you should try to assess if the work is protected by copyright.  Some items are not protected by copyright, which means they are in the public domain, because they were created when copyright laws were different and therefore never received copyright protection or because their copyright term has expired.

If the work is protected by copyright, you should assess whether or not your intended use is allowable under copyright law’s fair use exemptions.  For help determining if a work is in the public domain or can be used because of a fair use exemption, see the General Counsel’s Copyright and Intellectual Property page.  You can also contact Head of Access Services Elizabeth Teaff with questions.


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