However, there are exceptions to these rights laid out in subsequent sections of the law, particularly in section 107, the "Fair Use" Doctrine, of the Copyright Act.
The right to reproduce a work or authorize others to reproduce a work belongs to the copyright owner. (Note: the author may have transferred those rights to someone else.) However, the rights of the copyright owner are subject to certain limitations, as outlined in sections 107-118 of the Copyright Act (title 17, U.S. Code.)
One of the most important limitations is the doctrine of "fair use," defined in Section 107. Section 107 lists various purposes for which reproduction of a work may be considered "fair," such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. It also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:
More detailed information on these 4 factors can be found at https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/more-info.html
Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission to use a source, nor does it subsitute for verifying that your use is legal under the "fair use" doctrine.
However, in practice, the distinction between "fair use" and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined.
Fair use typically allows the limited copying and distribution of an article, image, or other information for personal, research, or educational use. However, there is no specific number of copies that may be distributed and no specific number of words, lines, images, or notes that may be reproduced without permission.
In many cases, what is allowed to be done with an information source will differ depending on the individual copyright permissions listed on that source, or in the case of library research databases, the license that the library has with that publisher. Generally, as more copies of a work are made and distributed, or larger sections of a work reused, the argument for fair use becomes weaker.
Scott Memorial Library has not adopted official guidelines for determining fair use. Librarians can help you understand the concept of fair use and discuss the facts of your proposed use. However, we cannot make a fair use determination for you. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance.
There are also online tools designed to help you reflect about fair use, such as the ones listed below. If you use one of these checklists to come to a decision about fair use, be sure to keep a copy in your records.
If you need additional assistance coming to a decision, contact the Office of University Counsel.
If a work is in the public domain, then it is free for you to copy and use without permission. Works often enter the public domain because copyright has run out, although some authors do choose to place their work in the public domain before this happens.
You should assume that every work is protected by copyright unless you can establish that it is not protected.
To find images available in the public domain for use in projects, you can use the resources linked below to start, or, you can go the Jefferson Image LibGuide and verify usage permissions in each resource.
You can also use the "How to Give Attribution" page on the Creative Commons website as a guide for how to cite these images.
To find music available in the public domain for use in classroom projects, you can use the resources linked below
The information presented in this guide is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Matters of law are subject to interpretation, and University Counsel is the source of authoritative information for Thomas Jefferson University. If you have specific legal questions pertaining to Thomas Jefferson University, please contact the Office of University Counsel.