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Copyright Basics

This guide contains information about using copyrighted materials for instruction.

Faculty, staff, and students interact with copyrighted works every day in a multitude of formats, an array of uses, in varying amounts, and from countless sources.  Because copyright protection attaches automatically and because the term of a copyright is so long, most works created and/or published in this century as well as most of the 20th century, that is, the works most likely to be used in a course, have a current copyright. 

Faculty and students have a pressing need for accurate and timely information about what can or cannot be used in both traditional classroom teaching as well as in online courses.   How and when can articles, images, music, photographs, films, or other copyrighted materials be copied, displayed and/or distributed by faculty or their students, whether as a physical copy or online?   What factors must be considered?  Are there any rules or guidelines?  Does LSU have a policy addressing these issues and, if so, what is it?  

What can students use in their coursework assignments or projects?  What is the difference between copyright infringment and plagiarism? Is permission necessary and how do you get it

A teaching resource is only as valuable as the ability to use it.  Although the quality and appropriateness of selected teaching materials is of highest priority, the universe of acceptable choices is also constrained by the ability or inability to use the work for teaching purposes.  Importantly, using a copyrighted work for non-profit, educational uses is not, by itself, sufficient rationale to allow all potential uses of any amount of a copyrighted work.  Additionally, copyright infringement does not require knowledge of infringement on the part of the infringer.  Since virtually every course on campus uses third party copyrighted material(s), knowing what can be used, or at least how to figure that out, is tied to everything universities do.
Here you will find some copyright basics, resources regarding fair usehow to analyze copyright questionsguides and forms for obtaining permission and much more.

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