Skip to Main Content

Scholarly Communications and Publishing Services

Supporting the creation, evaluation, dissemination, and preservation of the University's scholarly output

Copyright Consultation

Copyright consultation services are designed to assist faculty, staff and students with obtaining information regarding rights as authors and researchers. Questions beyond the scope of the consultation services should be directed to Office of Legal Affairs. F.D. Bluford Library cannot offer legal advice.

Copyright Consultation Services

According to the United States Copyright Office, copyright is defined as a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for "original works of authorship", including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. "Copyright" literally means the right to copy but has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, title, principle, or discovery. Similarly, names, titles, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols, mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, coloring, and listings of contents or ingredients are not subject to copyright.

To assist faculty, staff, and students with understanding copyright as it relates to teaching and research, F.D. Bluford Library provides the following consultations:

  • Copyright Fundamentals - The Library assists faculty, staff, and students in making informed decisions regarding appropriate uses of copyrighted materials by providing information and educational tools. A copyright consultation may include a fair use analyses of materials being used in courses and/or how to find openly available materials for use in classroom and student projects.
  • Publication & Authors’ Right Management - In the traditional publishing model, publishers require authors to sign a copyright transfer agreement (CTA). By signing the CTA, authors transfer their copyright to the publisher and cease to own copyright on the work. The Library offers a number of resources to help authors evaluate terms of their copyright transfer agreements, finding journals that allow authors to share work openly online, and negotiating future publication agreements. A consultation on authors’ rights may include checking SHERPA/RoMEO (a database of publishers’ current copyright and archiving polices) and creating an author’s addendum.
  • Licensing - In lieu of assigning absolute copyright to the publisher, an author can determine to grant an exclusive or non-exclusive license. An exclusive license is one in which the copyright holder grants to the publisher sole permission for using the work for a certain period of time. A non-exclusive license is when the copyright holder allows multiple people to use the work. While there are many different types of licenses, the most common and useful in an academic setting are Creative Commons Licenses. A Creative Commons License is a grant of permission from the author to the public (or a segment of the public) to use portions of work otherwise protected by copyright without first obtaining permission from the author (within certain established guidelines). A licensing consultation may include assisting the author in determining which Creative Commons License is best suitable for their work.

Additional Copyright Resources