Copyright, Fair Use and Intellectual Property

Copyright effects faculty and students in their generation and use of scholarly and creative works. The Digital Scholarship and Initiatives team can help you understand pertinent areas of the law and your rights and responsibilities in the ethical and fair use of intellectual property. 

Managing Your Intellectual Property Rights

As an author, you do not have to surrender all of your copyrights when you publish. Having a fuller understanding of copyrights can help you manage your intellectual effort and bring a balance to the world of scholarly publishing by bringing the interests of publishers in line with your interests and the university’s interests. Here are some basic points to understand about copyright:

  • Copyright is a bundle of rights. They can be transferred in their entirety to a third-party (such as a publisher) or separated. Copyrights include the right to produce and sell or distribute copies of the work, to perform or display the work publicly, and to adapt or create derivative works.
  • You do not have to surrender your copyrights when you publish, though traditionally with academic writing, publishers have required the transfer of all copyrights as a condition of publication.
  • Transferring all copyrights to a publisher can have unintended consequences. For example, you may not be able to photocopy your own writing in a course packet or in e-reserves without permission of the publisher.
  • Giving all copyrights to the publisher also confers enormous market power on the publisher, since they become the exclusive owners of the author’s work. Libraries and universities struggle with the issues (e.g. licensing, high costs) of obtaining access to journals and information which are controlled by publishers, who often have a strong incentive and profit motive to limit access to information.
  • It falls to individual faculty members to manage their copyrights in ways that foster their own professional and academic goals and interests.

 You should consider retaining your rights to:

  • Reuse your work in teaching, future publications, and similar professional activities.
  • Post your work on the web, either in a repository such as NC Docks; a disciplinary archive such as PubMed Central or arXiv; or on your own website.

For More Information

Contact Information

For questions about Copyright, Fair Use or Intellectual Property, please contact Paul Orkiszewski at orkiszewskip@appstate.edu or 828-262-6588; or Joyce Ogburn at ogburnjl@appstate.edu or 828-262-6735.