Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Copyright, Fair Use & Creative Commons

Recommended Approach

  • Assume that the material you are interested in using is probably copyrighted, even if you don't see a symbol
    • After 1978, you do not need to put a copyright symbol ( © ) on publications. Every publication is copyrighted at the point of being put into a tangible form
  • Consider whether the material you are interested in could be in the public domain
    • Because of the various changes in copyright law, determining whether an item is in the public domain takes some work -- but it can be worth it
  • Check to see if (or actively search for) material that has a Creative Commons license that allows you to use it
    • Be certain to look for the small print! If the copyright holder requests you to attribute the material to him/her -- do so
  • If the material is not in the public domain, perform a Fair Use Analysis.
    • Fair Use is the most useful method of determining your ability to use material
  • If your analysis results are not clear, consider the options presented by educational exemptions
    • This works only for classroom presentations. However, you can display a copyrighted work (or even perform plays or music) without worry about copyright
  • If in doubt, secure permission
    • The Oregon Tech Libraries spend a lot of money purchasing rights for you to make copies of the articles -- take advantage of it
    • Write to the copyright holder. Often times they will give permission to students to use their material without cost
    • Purchase permission. The Oregon Tech Libraries can help you find out how much money it would take to do so