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Copyright Information

Copyright Law

For the complete text of title 17 of the United States Code, including all amendments enacted by Congress through June 30, 2016, please visit the U.S. Copyright Office: Copyright Law of the United States of America (Title 17, United States Code), via

Copyright Infographic

Morehead State University's Copyright Policies

What is Copyright Law?

Copyright law protects any original creation, and grants the holder of the copyright exclusive control over when, how, and by whom their work may be copied, distributed, or exhibited. This includes literary works, paintings, photographs, drawings, films, music (and its lyrics), choreography, sculptures and many other creative works.

However, not everything is protected under copyright law. Copyright law generally does not protect the underlying ideas of a creative work, and it does not protect facts. Though, as a student, you will need to be aware of rules of plagiarism when using someone else's ideas and/or written works, or facts/research.

Additionally, if you express ideas and facts in your own words, you should always give appropriate credit to the sources in which you found them. It is common courtesy to do so, and not doing so could constitute a violation of the Copyright Act. What you have created may constitute a derivative work pursuant to the Copyright Act, unless you have obtained license or permission from the copyright holder to create the work.


What this means for you

As a student as MSU, you are expected to uphold the law, not only because of any legal repercussions, but also to maintain the integrity of MSU as an academic institution which respects intellectual property.

Before you:

  • use an image in an essay, on a blog, or on social media
  • show a movie to a group outside of a small gathering of friends or family (such as movie nights for a student group’s social gathering)
  • play a song at an event or activity
  • submit works to a digital repository,
  • perform someone else's song as a live music performance,
  • use a copyright-protected work at a student fundraising event,

please review the copyright permissions and, if necessary, find another source to use. 


UAR 308

This UAR addresses copyright by stating, “All use of telecommunications devices must be in accordance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations.”  And defines devices as, “Any form of electronic or electromechanical equipment connected to the University's telecommunications network. This includes, but is not limited to, telephones, cellular telephones, facsimile machines, televisions, video cassette recorders (VCR's), multi-user computer systems, microcomputers, terminals, printers and modems.”


Student handbook

SCC 700 Copyright Infringement

Last Revised: 8/01/2012

There is potential for significant liability for an individual and the University if a student shares copyrighted materials without approval from the copyright owner. University technology resources are subject to University discretion and all federal, state, and local laws governing accessibility, appropriate and timely content, intellectual property, obscenity, nondiscrimination, defamation, and copyright, trademark, and licensing regulations. The University, acting in its role as an Internet Service Provider and in conformance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, is required to respond immediately to notifications of violations of legal or contractual requirements.


Helpful Links

Many reputable institutions have created valuable resources over the years that are freely and easily accessible online. Among them are: