Help with Copyright
When deciding whether to use any intellectual property beyond just making reference to it, go through the four questions below to figure out your options. Check the links provided under each question to make an informed decision.
Is the work protected?
Before arriving at an affirmative answer, check for copyright, patent, trademark and privacy or publicity rights protections that may be relevant.
- Cornell's Reference Table. Copyright terms in the United States for unpublished and published works, sound recordings and architectural drawings.
- Copyright Renewals Database. Index of the copyright renewal records for books published in the US between 1923 and 1963.
- Patent Search. Unlike copyright, patents protect ideas. This may be more relevant if what you are trying to use is software or a business method.
- Trademark Search. Check this if you plan to use specific words, phrases, names, and symbols to identify goods or services for commercial purposes.
- Privacy and Publicity in Texas. Consider the interests of anyone who may be the subject of unpublished letters, diary entries, photographs, or any other work you are planning to use.
Is there a license in place?
Check the work for any indication of what uses of it are allowed. The tools below can help you determine what uses may be permitted.
- Creative Commons Search. Find items with a Creative Commons license.
- Digital Image Rights Computator. An interactive program to assess the intellectual property status of an image.
Does an exception apply?
Even in the absence of a license, there your use may be covered by an exception to copyright protection. Use this resources to help you determine whether that is the case.
- Copyright Exceptions for Teaching. Succinct statement on the exceptions to the exclusive rights in copyright that help serve educational needs from Duke University.
- Fair Use Best Practices. Best practice codes from the Center for Media & Social Impact.
- Fair Use Check List. A tool from Columbia University to assist you when undertaking a fair use analysis.
- Fair Use Evaluator. An interactive program that can be used as a general indicator of fairness.
- Movie Viewing Guidelines. A discussion of movie screenings on campuses, and compliance with copyright law, from Albion College.
- Copying for the Classroom. A quick guide to allowable copying for classroom use.
How do I get permission?
- Copyright Clearance Center. Especially good for getting permission to use textual works and ensure compliance with their copyright.
- Christian Copyright Licensing International. Options for storing and projecting lyrics, printing songs, recording worship services, making custom arrangements and translating songs.
- Firms Out of Business. A database with information about vanished publishing concerns, literary agencies, and similar firms.
- Motion Picture Licensing Corporation. Blanket licenses that may be especially useful for film showings outside of the classroom and musical performances.
- WATCH File. A database of copyright contacts for writers, artists, and prominent figures in other creative fields.
The copyright statement on a book is often a good indication of who the right holder is, but it may be more accurate to figure that out and secure permission through the sites listed here.
- Know Your Copy Rights. A six-page brochure from the Association of Research Libraries. A one-page chart is also available.
- Owning and Using Scholarship: An IP Handbook for Teachers and Researchers. A very readable and comprehensive review of this topic. .
- Self-paced Copyright Course. Available through the Adventist Learning Community.