Plagiarism, Fair Use, and You As a College Student

Works - things that are written down, recorded, or created as an image, whether text, audio, or still or motion graphics - are considered property. The right to reproduce a work, even for educational use, is defined and limited by copyright law, Title 17 of the United States Code. This page provides a few basic current information resources appropriate for both students and faculty as downloadable files or links. Things have changed dramatically in a very short time; please take copyright seriously.


UTM Brochures and Guides

Author rights

A brief discussion of issues involved when submitting material for publication

Copyright Notice

A public notice required to be displayed at publicly accessible photocopiers under the terms of the Code of Federal Regulations §201.14.

Copyright Term and the Public Domain

A table updated to January, 2008 showing when copyrighted works will enter public domain and are therefore free from copyright/permission requirements

Fair-use Guide to Classroom Copying

Helpful table illustrating balance between fair-use and permission issues. Intended for professors.

File Sharing

An updated warning about the legal issues behind file sharing. Compiled specifically for UTM students but relevant for anyone.

How to Recognize and Avoid Plagiarism

UTM Guide to Copyright

General brochure discussing basic copyright concerns including exemptions to copyright (including the TEACH Act for distance education), infringement, and cyberspace.


Quick Reference

Under the case law is shifting quickly away from fair-use and toward permissions for anything besides personal information and research, including education. Permission should be sought for any item accessible in Blackboard. A good guide to the permissions process may be found in the current Chicago Manual of Style, available at the Paul Meek Library reference desk.


When making a permission request:

  • be clear - state precisely what material you wish to use, how it will be used, and what sort of permission you want and for how long.
  • keep a hard copy of every action and contact with a rights holder
  • be certain to include a legal copyright notice and full citation on ANY item you distribute to students



UT General Counsel

University statements and policies involving faculty and students, including resource links.


U.S. Copyright Office

Information, helps, registration forms for materials in various formats, and copyright holder research. Can be used by individuals.


Copyright Clearance Center

The national clearinghouse for most commercial rights holders in the U.S. (both books and journals), and the official representative to foreign rights holders as well. Can be used by individuals.


Creative Commons

Creative Commons advocates an international standard for granting permission for others to use your work on terms you set. Can be used by individuals.


WATCH file

Writers And Their Copyright Holders, a joint project providing data about who controls copyright of literary figures.