An overview of copyright as it pertains to instructors and students

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What is Copyright?

Copyright is actually not just one right, but a "bundle of rights" granted to the creators of original works by Title 17 of the United States Code. Copyright includes

  • Creating copies
  • Creating derivative works
  • Distributing copies
  • Performing the work publicly
  • Displaying the work publicly
  • Playing a sound recording publicly

Creators can sell or give away pieces of their copyrights, or the entire bundle.

Organization of this Guide

This guide is organized according to the Framework for Analyzing Copyright developed by Kevin Smith. The Framework is a series of five questions for analyzing any copyright question:

  1. Is the work protected by copyright, or is it in the public domain?
  2. Is there a specific exception in copyright law that covers the use?
  3. Is there a license that covers the use?
  4. Is the use covered by fair use?
  5. Is it necessary to request permissions?

Can I use it in my course?

Who Owns Your Work?

At FHSU Faculty, Staff and Students own their work.

"The University, faculty, staff, and students jointly agree that ...ownership of intellectual property rights, including copyright, books, articles, works of art, musical compositions, or other forms of intellectual creations belong to the faculty, staff, or student [hereafter "creator(s)"] who created it..."


But there are exceptions:

"1. Works written or produced under contracts or grants. Intellectual property resulting from a contract or grant belongs to the party who provides the funding or grant or is assigned according to the terms under which the contract or grant was carried out.

2. Patents and software (excluding mediated course work software, see below).

3. Student-created products. Student-created products not claimed by students within 30 days of the close of the semester in which those products were created may be disposed of or destroyed by the University.

4. The University has the right to fair use of scholarship produced by creator(s) who are members of the University community, subject to the laws of Kansas and the United States."

FHSU Office of the Provost: Faculty and Unclassified Staff Handbook Chapter 1 -- General Policies