Frequently Asked Questions

What is a copyright? Is my work covered by copyright? 

Go to Copyright Basics to get an overview of what copyright is and what kind of works can be protected under copyright. 

Where do I go for information on registering my work? 

Click on Author’s Rights for more information on registering your work with the U.S. Copyright office.

Can I stop people from using my work without permission? 

Author’s Rights will outline the rights you have as an author of a work. Also check out the Fair Use page to find information on how others may be able to use your information without your permission.

Who owns the copyright in the papers or projects I put together for class? What about my scholarly works? 

Go to Author’s Rights and the Authoring Courses page for more information on determining copyright ownership for students and faculty members.

What should I do if someone wants to use my work? 

Click on Author’s Rights for more information on determining copyright ownership for students and faculty members.

What are Creative Commons licenses and how can I use one for my work? 

Information on Creative Commons can be found on the Author’s Rights tab and then follow the Creative Commons link.

I need some additional information on publisher agreements involving the publishing of my own works. 

Click on the Publishing link under the Author’s Rights page.

I want to use someone else’s work as part of a school assignment, is that ok? 

You are free to use works that fall within the public domain (Copyright Basics). Otherwise you work must either fall under an exception of copyright law (Using MaterialsNon-Print Materials. Also refer to the information on Online Learning), be permitted by the copyright owner (Using MaterialsPermissions), or fall under fair use (Fair Use).

Can I use someone else’s work outside of the classroom? Do I need to get special permission? 

You are free to use works that fall within the public domain (Basics). Otherwise you work must either seek permission to use the work from the copyright owner (Using MaterialsPermissions), or you use must fall under fair use (Fair Use).

What are public domain works? 

Information on public domain works can be found on the Copyright Basics page. 

Am I protected if I just credit a source to protect myself against claims of copyright infringement? 

Copyright infringement is a separate issue from plagiarism. For more information follow the Plagiarism link under the Using Materials section.

How do I get permission to use another person’s work? 

Go to the Using Materials section and follow the Permission link for information on requesting permission to use a work and additional resources on sample permission forms.

What if I can't find the copyright owner to ask for permission? 

Works whose owner cannot be found are known as orphan works. Go to the Using Materials section and follow the Orphan Works link for more information on using orphan works.

What is fair use? Do I need permission to use a work if I think it falls under fair use? 

An explanation of fair use and how it may be used, as well as additional resources for determining if your use falls under fair use, can be found in the Fair Use section.

Where can I find images or other works to use? 

The Find Public Domain and Openly Licensed Materials page provides links for public domain materials as well as image websites. Note that not all images can be used free of charge.

What is Open Access? 

Check out the Open Access tab for more information and resources.

What is P2P file sharing? 

For more information on peer-to-peer file sharing click the Using Materials link and follow the Peer-to-Peer link.

Are there any restrictions on the copies that a library can provide to a patron? 

Limitations on library copying is covered on the Libraries page, including information on exemptions for library copying and copyright checklists.

Can a library make copies of an original work that is damaged, lost, stolen, or now obsolete for the purpose of preserving the work? 

Information on preservation copies is available by clicking the Libraries link and following the Preservation link.

Where can I find information on making copies for a patron’s independent study or scholarship? How much can I copy?

Information is available on the Libraries page and following the Private Study link.

Can patrons make their own copies? Are there restrictions on copying equipment the library may provide? 

Go to the Libraries page and follow the Unsupervised Copying link.

Where can I find information on copying materials to fulfill an interlibrary loan request? 

Information is available by clicking the Libraries link and following the Interlibrary Loan link.

I am still unsure if the library is allowed to use a work. 

Some library activities may be protected under fair use. More information in fair use is available by going to the Libraries tab and following the Libraries and Fair Use link. Additional questions can be directed to libcopyright@osu.edu.

I would like to report a copyright infringement on an OSU website. How do I do this? 

See the section titled Reporting Copyright Infringement on OSU Websites on the Copyright Information page, also linked in the footer below, to find information on reporting what you think may be infringing material.

Where do I find OSU’s policy on file-sharing and other copyright issues? 

Check out the OSU Policy page.

Where can I go for extra help with my copyright questions? 

Additional resources are available under the Resources section. If you are unable to find the information you need, or have additional questions, feel free to contact us by email or phone, through the contact information provided on the right side of your screen.