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Copyright: Using Copyrightable Materials

A guide to inform faculty, staff, and students about fair use and copyright.

Can I use it?

 

Can I Use It? A Map of Use Issues - complicated graphic

Can I Use It? A Map of Use Issues - Download a PDF

Can I Use That? An Outline

Visual guides don't work well for everyone, so we're also presenting the issues in the graphic map, above, as an ordered outline. Again, intended as a guide and a learning tool.

  1. Is the work covered by copyright?
    1. Is the work eligible for © protection?
      If NO, copyright is likely not an issue; no one owns a copyright in the work.
      If yes, 
      go on to question 2.
    2. Is the work in the public domain?
      If YES, copyright is likely not an issue; no one owns a copyright in the work.
      If no, 
      go on to question 2.
  2. Is your intended use already permitted?
    1. Is there a © exemption or exception for your use?
    2. Is there a library subscription for your use?
    3. Is the work available under a Creative Commons license or other open license?

      If YES to ANY of these questions, copyright is an issue, but your use may be legal.
      If NO to all of these questions
      go on to question 3.
  3. Is your intended use a Fair Use?
    1. Have you seriously examined all four factors and other relevant issues?
      If NO, go back and do that. (Check out the 
      Thinking Through Fair Use tool for more help.)
    2. Having examined all four factors and other relevant issues,
      If you concluded that your use is likely to be a fair use, then your use may well be legal.
      If you concluded that your use is NOT likely to be a fair use, then seek permission.

If you seek permission, and it is denied, consider revising your planned use, using a different work, buying legal copies for your use, or seeking further legal advice.

You are always welcome to contact the copyright@waubonsee.edu for further information about use questions, and we may be able to help you understand some of the relevant issues outline above. However, conclusive answers about copyright use issues are rare.

Creative Commons License Unless otherwise noted, all content on the Copyright Information section of this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.

Courtesy of U of Minnesota Copyright Services - https://www.lib.umn.edu/copyright/usemap