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Copyright

Using Others' Works

There are a series of 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 (CCL). If you find the work here you are free to use the content as long as you follow the license requirements. Check out the CCL Licenses and Terms for more information.
  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 you feel 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.
    • If the context or environment in which you are using the copyrighted work changes or your purposes changes, you will need to re-evaluate fair use.
  5. If necessary, request permission to use the item or seek a collective rights agency to license your use.
    1. If you are interested in having a film showing at K-State, check out the Guidelines on Showing a Film at K-State and Planning a Film Showing.

Note of caution: When publishing copyrighted content publicly online, it is useful and helpful to provide context for exemptions and/or permissions of the copyrighted content on your website or webpage. For example, you could publish a photo with a caption that states, "Published with permission from John Doe" or "Photo made available here under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act following a fair use evaluation."

Guide to Analyzing Any U.S. Copyright Problem
This is the framework that outlines easy-to-follow guidelines for solving any copyright problem. It was originally created by Kevin Smith and Lisa Macklin as a way to assist anyone in navigating where to begin regarding a "can I use it?" U.S. Copyright problem. It has some added revisions that have adapted the guidelines for the K-State community.

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.