The following guide will direct you to resources explaining principles of U.S. copyright law and how it functions in practice in academic institutions. If you have a specific question regarding the use of copyrighted materials, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our librarians will assist you.
All information regarding copyright and intellectual property on this page is not intended to provide official legal advice. Compliance with copyright is the responsibility of the instructor, not the library or university.
NYU Copyright Polices
Key Terms and Concepts
Creative Commons provides creators with licensing to encourage the sharing and distribution of their work. Although their work remains copyrighted a Creative Commons license allows others to copy, share and reuse the work with limited or no restrictions.
Fair use provides parameters for the legal use of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder. Only a court can determine if a use is "fair" (and only if a case is litigated). While fair use offers some protection from copyright infringement, it does not prevent the copyright holder from taking legal action.
Materials in the public domain may be copied, reused, shared or distributed without permission from the creator or paying a fee. Government documents or works created by an office or employee of the federal government are automatically entered into the public domain whereas commercially published and privately created works enter after a statutory period.
Online learning module: U.S. Copyright, The Very Abridged Version for Online Educators
Created for NYU School of Medicine faculty this module covers key concepts in U.S. copyright law and addresses the challenges associated with using copyrighted materials. It is appropriate for faculty and instructors in medical environments who create course materials, lecture slides, and presentations for use online.
The module will provide users with a basic introduction to copyright and its alternatives such as Public Domain and Creative Commons licensing, an overview of Fair Use guidelines, as well as information on how to correctly attribute a work to its creator and request permission to use it.
This short module is interactive providing quizzes, a video, optional sections, examples, and resources.
There are 3 ways to access this module:
- For the NYU community, the module is available through the School of Medicine's VP21 system under "General Activities". This includes information about resources available at NYU School of Medicine.
- For those outside of NYU that would like to access a public version of the module (NYU-specific content removed), a hosted version is available. To view this you can access VP21 using a Google or Facebook account. The module is listed under "General Activities".
- For those outside of NYU that have implemented LAMS (Learning Activity Management System), a version of the module can be downloaded from MedEdPORTAL.