Copyright at Loyola University Chicago
What is covered by copyright?
Any original content in any tangible format. This includes:
- literary, musical, and dramatic works
- pantomimes and choreographic works
- pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works
- sound recordings
- motion pictures and other AV works
- computer programs
- architectural works
- compilations and derivative works
Material on the web also has copyright protection, including images, music and videos. Even the created works from instructors, staff and students are covered by copyright. Copyright occurs automatically with the creation of a new work, so formal procedures (such as registration or publication) are not required.
The owner of copyright has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
- to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phono records;
- to prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work;
- to distribute copies or phono records of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
- in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly; and
- in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly.
Exceptions to copyright
Copyright lasts a limited number of years. Once it expires, the work is considered to be in the public domain and can be freely used and altered. Currently, copyright lasts 70 years after the death of an author, except for works produced by a company/employer, in which case the copyright lasts 90 years after date of publication or 120 years from creation. Publications by the United States Government are also in the public domain. Works can also be placed on public domain through a Creative Commons license.
For more information about public domain or Creative Commons:
- Public Domain Slider Tool helps determine copyright status.
- Creative Commons’ mission is to develop, support, and steward legal and technical infrastructure to maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.
- Open Access from Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) provides links and resources for those interested in pursuing or advocating open access publication.
As defined in Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act, fair use is a defense against charges of copyright infringement determined through the analysis and application of the four fair use factors:
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.
- The nature of the copyrighted work.
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work
Examples of applying the Fair Use Checklist to various scenarios involving potential copyright infringement can be viewed on our video tutorials page.
The University Libraries subscribes to a vast amount of content that is available to authorized users through licensed databases. Before seeking permission, search the library catalog or consult a librarian to see whether material is available.
Here is a step-by-step guide to aid you in determining if permission is needed and what to do to obtain permission:
- Determine if permission is needed
Is the material you want to use protected under copyright law? The Public Domain Slider Tool can help you determine this.
- Determine if you are within fair use
Materials can be used without permission if within the boundaries of fair use.
- Loyola University Copyright Clearance Service
In order to assist instructors in obtaining this permission, Loyola University’s Printing Services has implemented a procedure by which permission may be sought and course packs prepared. All faculty and staff must follow these procedures in order to provide protection to the University from civil and criminal penalties. You can begin this process by completing the Copyright Permission form online.
For more information about obtaining permission, or to search for permissions, visit the Copyright Clearance Center's website.
- You may need to use alternative material if:
- The copyright own is unresponsive or cannot be located
- You are unwilling to pay a license fee
To learn more about obtaining permission through Loyola University, please visit the Printing Services page.
US Copyright Office
The U.S. Copyright Office serves the copyright community of creators and users, as well as the general public. Here you will find key publications, application forms for copyright registration, links to the copyright law, links to other copyright-related organizations, online copyright records cataloged since 1978; news of what the Office is doing, Congressional testimony, and much more.