Hege Library & Learning Technologies

Copyright and Fair Use


The purpose of this guide to to provide information about copyright for Guilford College students, faculty, and staff. This guide is not intended to be legal advice. it is the intent of Library & Learning Technologies to fully comply with Copyright Law, the TEACH Act, and all licenses and contractual agreements in the provision of resources to the Guilford College Community. 

Copyright Basics

Copyright is protection provided by law to the authors or creators of original works expressed in any tangible form. This includes:

  • The right to reproduce the work
  • The right to distribute copies
  • The right to display or perform the work publicly
  • The right to create derivative works based on the original work

More information is available from:

When to consider copyright

Many items fall under copyright protection even if they are being used for education. Consideration of copyright is needed when:

  • Posting items on Canvas
  • Adding course reserves for students
  • Providing handouts to students in class
  • Sharing articles via email with colleagues and others
  • Showing a film in class or to an outside group
  • Posting an image or video on a website

What is protected by copyright

Original works are protected whether they are registered with the Copyright office or not. These include:

  • Literary works
  • Musical works including accompanying words
  • Dramatic works including accompanying music
  • Pantomimes and choreographic works
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • Motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works
  • Webpages
  • Computer programs and codes

What's not protected

The following are usually not eligible for copyright protection:

  • Facts
  • Works that have not been fixed in a tangible form of expression
  • Titles, names, short phrases and slogans, familiar symbols or designs
  • Ideas, procedures, methods, systems, processes, concepts
  • Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and no original authorship such as standard calendars, tape measures
  • Items in the public domain

Additional information is available from the following sources: