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Where to Begin

Are you dealing with a copyrighted work?

Is the work in the public domain? Generally, works created prior to 1925 (as of Jan. 1, 2020) are in the public domain. See the public domain page to identify works. 

If the work is copyrighted, pursue these paths. 

Does the work bear a Creative Commons license permitting certain uses?

  • ​​Look for license symbols or letters like: CC BY, By-SA, CC0, BY-NC, BY-ND, BY-NC-SA, BY-NC-ND.
  • See Creative Commons license explanations

Is the work licensed by the University in which case the copyright is covered for you?

  • Check the University Libraries' databases.
  • Check if it is licensed by your department. 
  • If licensed and your use is permitted by that license, proceed as the license permits. 

If the work is not in the public domain or licensed for use, is there a legal exemption to copyright law that would allow you to use the work? Examples:

  • Section 110 (1) covering face-to-face classroom performance and display ("Media in the Classroom" page)
  • The TEACH ACT (Section 110(2)) covering digital transmissions for performance and display
  • The DMCA exemptions

If the work is not licensed or covered by an exemption, consider the Fair Use exemption. 

  • Fair Use (Section 107) is also an exemption, but it is the vaguest and riskiest, so consider it last in your process. See the Fair Use page.

If none of the above allows you to use a copyrighted work, seek permission which may involve paying royalties. 


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Let's copy it right

A Guide to Copyright for UMKC Educators and Students

Contact us at: 

 Nothing on this guide is to be construed as legal advice.
These pages are intended to provide information and guidance in the application of copyright law and
to expand on the University of Missouri System Collected Rules and Regulations.


Creative Commons License
Let's Copy It Right: A Guide to Copyright for UMKC Educators and Students by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License.

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