Library Basics

Learn what the Libraries have, how to find something, and how to manage it.

Library Research Guide

Copyright Basics

people browsing books

For personal assistance with your research endeavors contact the Center for the Advancement of Digital Scholarship or use the online  Copyright Consultation Form for help at any time.

Introduction to Copyright - General information about copyright, what it covers, and duration.

Using Copyrighted Works - How to determine if something is under copyright, if a use is fair use, information on requesting permission to use a work, and alternatives to copyright.

Copyright Resources and Tools - Additional information about copyright at K-State and beyond.

Can I Use This Copyrighted Work?

Guide to Analyzing any U.S. Copyright Problem - Infographic

This infographic can help you analyze any copyright problem and help guide you through an appropriate solution for your individual needs. The framework was originally created by Kevin Smith and Lisa Macklin and has been recreated here as an infographic. Click the image below for a larger version that you can download.

framework for analysing copyright problems

Steps to Follow If You Wish to Use Someone Else's Work:

  1. Check to see if what you need or something comparable is in the public domain. If you find the work here you are free to use the content.
  2. Check to see if what you need or something comparable is available through Creative Commons licenses. If you find the work here you are free to use the content as long as you follow the license requirements.
  3. If using a library resource, there might be a license available through the library. Check to see or ask a librarian.
  4. Check to see if your proposed use is a fair use or if it falls under another exemption in U.S. Copyright Law. Use the Fair Use Evaluator tool for help on completing a fair use evaluation of your use. If your evaluation of your use is fair, or if it falls under another exemption, then you are free to use the content, as long as the work being used is a legal copy.
  5. If necessary, request permission to use the item or seek a collective rights agency to license your use.