Copyright:FHSU Students

An overview of copyright as it pertains to instructors and students

Copyright and You at FHSU

"The Congress shall have the Power promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

United States Constitution, art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 8

What are "exclusive rights"?

Exclusive rights are defined in Title 17 USC (United States Code)
  • Reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords
  • Produce derivative works based upon the copyrighted work
  • Distribute copies of the copyrighted work
  • Perform the work publicly
  • Display the work publicly

 What does copyright protect?

  • Literary works
  • Musical works and accompanying words
  • Dramatic works and accompanying music
  • Pantomimes and choreagraphed works
  • Pictoral, graphic, and sculptural works
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works

The following are NOT protected by copyright

  • Ideas, procedures, processes, systems, methods, concepts

When does copyright protection begin? 

As soon as a work is fixed in a tangible form it is protected by copyright. No registration is required!

How long does copyright protection last?

Currently, works enjoy copyright protection for the life of the author plus 70 years. Once copyright has expired the work enters the public domain. Works within the public domain may be freely used by anyone and everyone. Changes in copyright law over many years have created many different scenarios for determining whether a work falls within the public domain. See some of the following resources to determine if a work is protected or is in the public domain.


Plagiarism's different from Copyright

Plagiarism is the practice of using someone else's words and ideas without giving credit to that person. Within the educational environment using other people's work to gain an understanding or synthesis of an idea is assumed. You research a subject and look for works that help you better understand a topic and from that understanding create new work. When you use another's work, quoting or paraphrasing ideas, conclusions, findings, etc., you are ethically bound to cite the source. If you do not cite the source plagiarism has occurred. This applies to both published and unpublished work, to any information gained from any source, whether print, digital, recorded, Internet, World Wide Web or otherwise.

Take a look at the following resources for tutorials on recognizing plagiarism, and how to avoid committing it.

Excelsior Online Writing Lab: Avoiding Plagiarism

Learn more about the details of plagiarism, best practices and exercises to help you avoid plagiarizing.

FHSU Academic Honesty Policy

What are the consequences for committing plagiarism? Fort Hays State University employs an Academic Honesty Policy that defines the consequences for acts such as plagiarism. Penalties range from verbal or written warnings to dismissal from the university.

Tiger Pact

I am a Tiger.

I belong to a strong unique family
Who strives for greatness and success.
I instill integrity and confidence within
Others as well as myself. I incorporate
Honesty and responsibility in all I do.

I am the future.