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Check-It-Out @ ATSM Library Issue 11, 2016: Library Copyright


The copyright guidance site was developed by the library to help educate the ATSU community on copyright, fair use, and the public domain.  Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.  This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Fair Use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work.  Public domain works are not restricted by copyright and do not require a license or fee to use.   After receiving multiple questions about whether something was or wasn’t copyright compliant, we have put together educational resources to help guide people on the topic. 

The library staff are not copyright experts, but we are glad to assist in finding an answer to your question.  The guide came together after asking other libraries how they handle copyright inquiries, and if they had some information available for their faculty and students.  We reviewed several sites that libraries put together on copyright.  The Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine and the University of Michigan granted us approval to take some information and resources they have on their website.  Other resources were taken from the Copyright Clearance Center and the United States Copyright Office.  The ATSU and ATSU library copyright policies are also available for reference.    The final site was reviewed and approved by University Council, Matt Heeren.

                In addition to explaining copyright, fair use, and the public domain, there are some tools and additional resources.  Videos on the basics of copyright are available to those unfamiliar with the topic.  If you need to obtain permission, there is a link to the Copyright Clearance Center.  They provide licensing for academic users.  If you would like to see if something is useable under Fair Use, we have a checklist to guide you.  There are some best practices for fair use, as well as FAQs for professors.  We have a public domain slider, so you can determine if a reference is copyright protected or in the public domain.  There are also some resources available to help you find public domain books, images, and movies.  Images are also copyright protected, but we provide resources to find images that can be used.  Our FAQ section tries to answer as many frequently asked questions as possible.  If you cannot find an answer to your question, please feel free to contact me at or the library at or  The guide can be found here ( or on the main library page.