Skip to Main Content
Florida Tech Evans Library Logo


Find resources and answers to questions about copyright issues.

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Chelsea Carroll
Evans Library, 409

Getting Started

Many faculty, staff, and students have questions related to copyright, fair use, and intellectual property. The issue of copyright can be downright confusing, but it is our hope that the resources in this guide can help clarify the concept of copyright and permissions. We hope that this guide will also answer the questions surrounding what you can and cannot post, distribute, and copy — especially in academia.

Below, you will find handy definitions for terms and labels used throughout this guide.

  • Copyright: Copyright protects content creators and authors by conferring certain rights over tangible creative works. Copyright is conferred at the moment of creation, and gives exclusive rights for reproduction, derivation, copying, performance, and display of works. Copyright owners may transfer or assign their rights to another, either wholly or in part (they may give permission for their works to be used by another). Facts cannot be copyrighted, and government documents are not subject to copyright.
  • Intellectual property: Works, images, names, and designs created by the mind.
  • Fair Use: Under American law, exceptions to copyright do exist. These exceptions are known as “fair use,” and are determined by four factors. See the Fair Use tab for more information.
  • Public Domain: Items that are not protected under copyright are in the public domain. These items may have passed out of copyright or may have never been copyrighted in the first place. Government publications, data, facts, and ideas are not copyrighted and therefore within the public domain.
  • Open Access: Open Access is a movement whose goal is to make content available to everyone, everywhere, free of charge.
  • Creative Commons (CC): Creative Commons works with existing copyright law to give content creators the ability to share their work with others. Creative Commons licenses allow authors to permit “limited use” of content while still retaining copyright.

Faculty: Know Your Copyrights

The Association of Research Libraries has assembled a simple brochure to help you determine how best to share articles, multimedia, and other intellectual property with your students -- often without requesting special permission or paying fees to content owners.

The Know Your Copyrights brochure is available for re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

Copyright on Campus

Scholarly dialogue can only be established and maintained when we respect the intellectual property of others - this means that following, and understanding, copyright law is of the utmost importance.

Florida Tech provides several resources on copyright and plagiarism for both students and faculty: