USP 460 - Community Development Field Seminar: Copyright and Fair Use

Credit Where Credit is Due Video

Can I use it?

Can I use it? Decision map from the University of Minnesota This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution by the University of Minnesota Libraries. 
Use It? A Map of Use Issues - Download a PDF

Creative Commons

Everything you wanted to know about Creative Commons

Essentially, this is a license that a creator can use if they want to be able to share their work with others. There are several different kinds of CC license options that stipulate what kind of use is permitted by the creator. 

image of creative commons license logos

What is copyright?

Copyright. Fair Use. Intellectual Property. Public Domain. Image Appropriation.

These terms can cause confusion for many people, and art students especially need to develop a basic understanding of these concepts as they work and embark upon their careers. Here are some resources that will help you as you educate yourself. They are not intended to substitute for legal advice. 

What is copyright? "Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship in a fixed, tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.' ( Learn more here

Copyright Basics for Artists is a great resource provided by the Artist Rights Society. 

Please see the Library's Copyright and Fair Use page under Help and Services, which links to the PSU Copyright Guide and University Copyright Policy


Fair Use

Fair Use: 17 U.S. Code § 107 Limitations to exclusive rights.
You may be able to use copyrighted work  for purposes such as criticism, comment, new reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research. Here are four factors to consider when trying to determine "fair use": 
  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature, or is for non-profit educational purpose;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the whole; 
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. 
Download FAIR USE CHECKLIST from Cornell University to help you figure out if your use of a copyrighted work is indeed fair. The University of Minnesota has also created a tool to help you figure this out. Fair use is very context-dependent, so try using this online aid to help you "Think Through Fair Use"

Public Domain

A work may have passed into the public domain, which means you may use if without copyright restrictions. But be aware of the fact that works may have restrictions other than copyright, and you still must cite your source. Cornell University has provided a handy reference if you have questions about public domain. 

Sreenshot of Cornell University's public domain resource center