Copyright Information

Penn State University Resources:

Penn State University Libraries Copyright Officer, Brandy Karl
Contact for questions on copyright, fair use, Teach Act, and other related issues:

Penn State’s Copyright Portal

Penn State’s Teaching and Learning with Technology Web site on the TEACH Act

External Resources:

Association of Research Libraries 2007 Know Your Copyrights Brochure for Teaching Faculty
Among the topics covered in the brochure are: fair use, the advantage of linking to instead of copying works, and special provisions for displaying or performing works in classes. The brochure also includes a one-page chart that highlights 24 situations when various categories of works can be used.”

American Library Association Information on the TEACH Act

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts
A set of principles addressing best practices in the fair use of copyrighted materials based on a consensus of opinion developed through discussions with visual-arts professionals, published by the College Art Association (CAA) on February 9, 2015.
Available for free download on CAA's website.

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts Frequently Asked Questions
Answers questions about how CAA’s Code of Best Practices can be used to evaluate your use of copyrighted materials.

Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities
An Issues Report published by College Art Association (CAA). Available for free download on CAA's website.

Innovative Copyright: Unique Resources for Copyright Education
Published by the Association of College and Research Libraries in 2011, this list compiled by Lauren Dodge and Jennifer Sams, includes several engaging and enjoyable videos, interactive tools, comics, podcasts, tutorials, online courses, Twitter feeds, and blogs about copyright.

A Fair(y) Use Tale
Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University created this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of Disney characters -- the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Stanford University Copyright and Fair Use
An extremely thorough website relating to Fair Use in the educational context. Includes laws, current legislation, cases, issues, and other resources on the Internet.

Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office
Another thorough website about the relationship of copyright law and higher education organized by Kenneth Crews.

University of Texas: Copyright Crash Course
From the University of Texas, Office of the General Counsel, this site provides basic information on fair use, who owns what, and clearing rights for creating multimedia presentations. Links to other Internet resources for copyright information are provided.

U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress
Includes publications on copyright basics, how to register a copyright and copyright forms.

Copyright & Art Issues
Compiled by Christine L. Sundt, a site with links to documents, policies, guidelines, papers, and opinions regarding copyright and fair use with special emphasis in fine arts and digital images.

Intellectual Property Rights
Compiled by the Visual Resources Association Ad Hoc Committee on Intellectual Property Rights, a site with links to guidelines, position statements, reports, compilations, and other resources regarding copyright, intellectual property rights, and fair use.

10 Big Myths about copyright explained

Visual Resources Association (VRA) Statement on Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study (updated June 2013)

Fair Use Checklist:

Use this checklist to help focus on factual circumstances that are important to the evaluation of a contemplated fair use of copyrighted works.

Columbia University Libraries

Public Domain Determination Resources:

“When U.S. Works Pass Into the Public Domain”
Created by Lolly Gasaway, a useful chart to help determine if material is in the public domain or still under copyright.

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States (Peter B. Hirtle, Cornell University, January 2010)

Digital Image Rights Computator (DIRC)
Developed by the Visual Resources Association, the Digital Image Rights Computator (DIRC) program is intended to assist the user in assessing the intellectual property status of a specific image documenting a work of art, a designed object, or a portion of the built environment so that the user can make informed decisions regarding the intended educational uses of that image.

The Digital Slider
Compiled by Michael Brewer and the American Library Association Office for Information Technology, a very helpful tool for determining quickly if a work is in the public domain or still protected by copyright.

Copyright Laws of Other Countries:

International Copyright Basics
A comprehensive resource provided by the Copyright Clearance Center.

Public Domain Calculation
The Public Domain Calculators, developed by the Europeana Connect project, answer the question of whether a certain work or other subject matter vested with copyright or neighbouring rights (related rights) has fallen into the public domain in a given European country.

World Intellectual Property Organization  (WIPO Lex)
Links national laws, amendments, pending legislation, etc.

Dissertation Resources:

Carefully review the requirements of Penn State University, as well as the copyright restrictions on any images before digitally publishing your dissertation.

Penn State University Graduate School, Thesis Information

A Graduate Student’s Guide to Copyright: Open Access, Fair Use, and Permissions

ProQuest (UMI)
Guidelines for authors making their dissertations available.

Images for Publication:

ARTstor Images for Academic Publishing (IAP)
Includes images from the Dallas Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Getty Photo Archives, the Mellink Archive at Bryn Mawr College, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Northeastern University Library’s collection of Ramon Casas sketchbooks, Princeton University Art Museum, The Walters Art Museum, and Yale University Art Museum. These images will have an IAP icon below the thumbnail. Users will have to agree to a terms and conditions statement to download the publication-quality images.

Creative Commons licensed images
"A nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof."

Wikimedia Commons
A media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips) to everyone, in their own language.

Other Image Commons:


Flickr Commons


Luna Commons

Shared Shelf Commons

Locating Copyright Owners & Seeking Permissions:

University of Texas, information on “Getting Permission”

Copyright Search, U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress
Identify current owners (sometimes) through renewals, transfers, and similar copyright records.

Sample Permission Letters
Example from Stanford University
Examples from Columbia University Libraries

Reproduction Rights Organizations:

Artists Rights Society (ARS): Copyright Basics
Clearing house for the rights of the majority of the artists active in the 20th century. More than 40,000 international artists represented.

Art Resource
Clearing house for the rights of major European and American museums, archives and collections.

Copyright Clearance Center

WATCH (Writers Artists and Their Copyright Holders) 
"a database of copyright contacts for writers, artists, and prominent figures in other creative fields" (Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin)

And many others, internationally via the website of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations

Other Resources:

Copyright and moving images: Center for Media and Social Impact’s Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use