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Copyright Resources

Copyright Guidelines

Copyright is not a black-and-white issue. Often, determining when a use of a copyrighted work is allowed by fair use or another exception or when a use requires permission is difficult and controversial.

Various organizations and groups have tried to simplify matters by created guidelines for using copyrighted works. These guidelines can be useful in deciding whether or not you should use part of a copyrighted work. However, the guidelines should be used with caution.

Guidelines represent an attempt to define the minimum use that would be considered non-infringing. They should not be considered statements of the maximum use allowed. Many uses that fall outside the recommendations of the guidelines may be covered by fair use. The guidelines are also not infallible guards against infringement. A use that seems to fit within a guideline’s boundaries may actually be infringing under certain circumstances. While guidelines are helpful, they cannot be used as replacements for learning about copyright law and evaluating each use yourself.