Understand the general principles of copyright and intellectual property law and how they may apply to specific situations.
What is Copyright?
Copyright ensures that an author controls over how their work is distributed and used. Copyright covers anything you create in a “fixed tangible form” such as research articles in a journal, chapters in a textbook, dissertations, websites, or even the code of software you designed.
Where can I find some basic information about copyright?
- Copyright law can be complicated and is highly dependent on what you are trying to do. Some good basic information can be found at https://www.lib.umn.edu/services/copyright/basics.
- You should also contact us with specific questions.
What happens if a publisher or copyright holder says I violated copyright?
The publisher should be able to prove they have copyright. If you do not have rights to use images or text, you may have used alternative and openly available materials. If you have questions, you can contact a member of the scholarly communication team for further help.
Should I ask the Library to obtain copyright permissions for my course reserves?
If the use would not be considered a "fair use" (see section below), then reserve staff will attempt to obtain copyright permission from the rights holder. If you have specific questions related to an intended use for your course, please contact us.
I have been told that I can use “fair use." What is it and what can I do?
Copyright and Scholarship
I would like to make an article I published more widely available, how can I do that?
- The Dartmouth Faculty Open Access Policy allows all faculty to post preprints of their scholarly articles in Dartmouth Digital Commons.
- For more information on the policy and how to share materials, please contact us.
Can I use copyrighted materials in my research or teaching?
There are many exceptions within copyright law that allow for scholars and teachers to make use of copyrighted materials in their work. The most common of these exceptions is what is known as “fair use.” Fair use is highly case-specific, so if you have questions about such uses, please contact a member of the scholarly communication team with details about your intended use.
What are license agreements?
License agreements permit publishers in most academic journals to take copyright from you thereby removing your ability to disseminate the work elsewhere, meaning that access to the work is only available to those with a subscription to that journal.
License agreements, however, can be used in other ways. Many open access journals allow authors to retain their copyright and thus their ability to disseminate the work through other channels.
I have been asked to sign a Creative Commons license, what is that?
Additional Resources on Copyright and Licensing
- Dartmouth copyright policy Official guidelines from the Technology Transfer Office at Dartmouth
- Dartmouth Faculty Open Access Policy Grants Dartmouth College a license to make faculty work available
- Creative Commons Allows you to license your work under certain conditions that you set
- Fair Use and Copyright Explanations From Harvard University’s Copyright Office