Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

The Research Process: A Step-By-Step Guide: 5c. Copyright

This guide walks you through the steps of the research process.

Copyright Basics

The United States copyright laws are designed to prevent people from copying and distributing other people's work without permission. This includes both paper copies (i.e., photocopies, typewritten copies, etc.) and electronic copies (scanned or uploaded).

In an academic setting there is a fair use exception to the permission requirement, but it is only available if you meet the guidelines. If you do not meet the guidelines, permission must be sought.

Fair Use

Fair Use is a doctrine of the United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted works without seeking permission typically for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. In determining whether or not use of a copyrighted work is fair the following factors should be considered:

  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  • the nature of the copyrighted work;
  • the amount and substantiated of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;
  • and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

Copyright 101

YouTube video from stevesr71.

Copyright Information

The following links are from the United States Copyright Office, the University System of Georgia, the University of Texas, the University of Tennessee, American Association of Law Librarians, and the Copyright Clearance Center.

The Copyright Genie

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Lynda Kennedy
Contact:
Clara Wood Gould Memorial Library

College of Coastal Georgia

One College Drive

Brunswick, GA 31520

912-279-5782

Getting Permission

If you cannot meet the photocopying guidelines, then you must get permission to copy and distribute the work. Requests should be sent on letterhead, together with a self-addressed return envelope, to the Permissions department of the publisher or proprietor in question. Include in the request:

  • A complete description of the material to be used including author, title, editor, compiler, translator, and edition.
  • The exact portion of the material, pages, and a photocopy if possible
  • A description of how it will be used, including how many times, the number of people it will be distributed to, under what conditions (i.e. on or off campus, on-line course...)
  • How the material will be reproduced (photocopy, off-set, digitized, etc.)
  • A place for the recipient to sign to indicate that permission has been granted.

The Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) also has the right to grant permission and collect fees for photocopying rights for certain publications. It is often the fastest and most efficient way to obtain permissions.