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Copyright and Fair Use: Copyright Law


The purpose of this guide is to provide faculty, staff, and students at Indiana University South Bend with an understanding of copyright law and fair use.

Understanding copyright, author's rights and fair use us essential important for the teaching faculty and students who use resources and the researchers who produce them.  Failure to comply with copyright law can lead to substantial legal penalities for all parties involved. Failure to understand author's rights can lead to a researcher signing away many or most rights to scholarship and also subsequent control over that scholarship.  

Schurz Library

Phone: 574.520.4441

Copyright on Campus Video by Copyright Clearance Center

Copyright Law Defined

Copyright law, as defined in Title 17 of the United States Code, protects "original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression" for a limited period. Copyright protection includes, for instance, the legal right to publish and sell literary, artistic, or musical work, and copyright protects authors, publishers and producers, and the public.  Copyright applies both to traditional media (books, records, etc.) and to digital media (electronic journals, web sites, etc.). Copyright protects the following eight categories of works:

  1. literary works
  2. musical works
  3. dramatic works
  4. pantomimes and choreographic works
  5. pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  6. motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  7. sound recordings
  8. architectural works

Ownership of a copyrighted work includes the right to control the use of that work. Use of such work by others during the term of the copyright requires either permission from the author or reliance on the doctrine of fair use. Failure to do one or the other will expose the user to a claim of copyright infringement for which the law provides remedies including payment of money damages to the copyright owner.

Copyright Basics, put out by the U.S. Copyright office, is a great starting resource for anyone learning about copyright. 

Know Your Copy Rights is an initiative by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) to educate about copyright issues in using materials for teaching and learning. 


This LibGuide utilizes content originally created for NYU Libraries by Ingrid Redman (, and subsequently made available for reuse through Springshare. 

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Craig Finlay