Do You Know Your Copy Rights?


The LSU Libraries are committed to providing services that are in compliance with copyright law. We are also committed to helping members of our community navigate the increasingly complex and evolving world of copyright. We recognize that the library is but one place on campus where copyright issues arise, but it is a logical place for faculty, students and staff to look for direction when confronted with copyright questions. This page is intended to be a resource on issues concerning copyright. It is not intended as legal advice and should not be construed as such. It is designed to provide basic copyright information and to point to additional resources.

We seek:

  1. To ensure that library policies are in compliance with copyright law by posting appropriate copyright notices, maintaining appropriate records, keeping abreast of changes to the law and regularly reviewing library practices.
  2. To assist faculty in their efforts to comply with copyright law, especially with regard to reserves and other areas where copyright compliance, the university's teaching and research missions, and library services converge. To provide direction to faculty when their copyright concerns fall beyond the scope of expertise available in the library.
  3. To raise awareness and foster discussion of copyright issues within the LSU community. To provide students, faculty and staff with a variety of tools to address copyright concerns.

Decision Workflow

This workflow will help you determine the path and steps to follow to seek and obtain copyright permissions.

Copyright & Instruction


Faculty at LSU are to adhere to the intent and provisions of the law concerning copyrighted materials, as stated in LSU policy Memorandum pM-17

While various guidelines exist, we recommend that faculty look first to the actual statute, Title 17 of the u. S. Code, when seeking guidance about the lawfulness of photocopying copyrighted materials for classroom and research use.

There are several exceptions/limitations to the Exclusive Rights of Copyright Owners which may allow for, among other things, reproducing a copyrighted work without first getting permission from the copyright owner. These exceptions are stated in Sections 107 through 118 of Title 17. In most circumstances in which the photocopying of copyrighted materials is in question, faculty should look to Section 107, Fair use. Section 108 may be applicable in instances involving reproduction by libraries and archives. See also LSU Libraries Checklist for Fair Use.

Steps for faculty:
For flowchart version, see
  1. Determine whether the material in question is in the public domain. Items in the public domain are no longer covered by copyright and may be reproduced. Faculty may consult the chart, "Copyright Term and the public Domain in the united States," See also, "Is it protected by Copyright?" at
  2. If faculty determine that the material is still subject to copyright protection, consult the LSU Libraries Fair Use Checklist as a first tool to help determine whether the photocopying of the copyrighted materials is lawful under Fair use.
  3. In instances where the photocopying is determined by the faculty member to fall outside the range of Fair use, and he/she has determined that no other exception provided in the statute applies, the faculty member should secure permission from the copyright holder or find an alternative source of content. See the "useful links" below for helpful agencies.
  4. In cases where further information or action is needed, faculty members should consult with the associate Dean of Libraries.

Copyright & Students

LSU students are to adhere to the intent and provisions of the Copyright law and university policies.

As a user of copyrighted material, this is what you need to know:

If you have a question about about using audio, video, or music, see the Copyright Links section.

As an author of copyrighted materials, this is what you need to know:

Copyright & the University

Section 512(c) of the Copyright act provides for limitations of service provider liability relating to material online, "if the service provider has designated an agent for notification of claimed infringement by providing contact information to the Copyright Office and through the service provides publicly accessible website."

Brian Nichols, Chief IT Security & policy Officer, is the registered DMCa agent for LSU.

- LSU policy statement regarding Fair use of Copyrighted Material at LSU: LSU policy Memorandum 17.

Copyright Links

Copyright Restrictions

The copyright law of the united States (Title 17, united States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research."

If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order, if in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.


The U.S. Copyright Office has a useful FAQ.