This guide offers general information on copyright, fair use, avoiding plagiarism, and citing. Faculty and students often need to use copyrighted material in connection with their teaching, classroom assignments or research. The purpose of this guide is to promote the understanding of copyright and related terms and includes resources specific to art and design. This site is not meant to provide any legal advice.More information can be found in the NJIT document Acceptable Use Policy for Cyber Resources.
Definitions and Useful Sites:
Intellectual Property: "Intellectual Property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs."- World intellectual Property Organization
Copyright: "A wide and diverse range of materials are protectable under copyright law. Books, journals, photographs, art, music, sound recordings, computer programs, websites, and many other materials are within the reach of copyright law. Also protectable are motion pictures, dance choreography, and architecture."- Columbia University Copyright Quick Guide
Public Domain: "Some works lack copyright protection, and they are freely available for use without the limits and conditions of copyright law. Copyrights eventually expire, and the works enter the public domain. Works produced by the U.S. government are not copyrightable. Copyright also does not protect facts, ideas, discoveries, and methods." - Columbia University Copyright Quick Guide. See also the Public Domain video from Cornell.
Fair Use: "Fair use is a copyright principle based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism"- Stanford University Libraries
Allowing educators to use copyrighted materials is also Fair Use. "Fair Use is intended to balance the rights of copyright holders with society’s legitimate need to make copies in certain limited circumstances." - ALA
"Copyright infringement is a violation of federal copyright law and could subject the infringing party to civil and/or criminal damages or penalties. It usually involves the copying, distributing, performing or making of a derivation of another work you do not own, without permission or without an applicable exception to copyright law. Proper citation of a work will not protect you against an infringement action."- Clemson Libraries Guide
Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own. Most commonly it refers to not properly citing or acknowledging sources.