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Healing Arts Therapy Program: Copyright/Citing

Protecting Yourself & Your Work - What is Copyright?

Copyright is a set of laws designed to protect original works of authorship in a tangible form of expression. These laws offer copyright owners’ protection over how their work is reused.    


  • exists from the moment of creation and lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years
  • you do not need the © on the work for the copyright to exist
  • to enforce © you need to register the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office

Requirements for Copyright Protection

  • it must contain a little originality
  • It must be at least a little creative
  • it must be fixed or recorded in a physical format

The owner of the Copyright, has

  • the right to distribute the work
  • the right to reproduce the work
  • the right to prepare derivative works
  • the right to perform or display the work
  • the right to license any of the above to others

Protecting Yourself & Your Work - Register Your Work

Copyright registration is not required in order to enjoy protection for your work. However, it is still a good idea to register your copyright in a work. It is an easy process that helps ensure the U.S. Copyright Office has a record of your original work and your claim to copyright ownership. Registration is also the required first step if you decide to sue someone for infringement. Copyrights can be registered online through the Copyright Office Registration Portal.

Protecting Yourself & Your Work - Authors' Rights

Know your rights as an author. As the author of a work, you are the exclusive copyright holder unless or until you transfer your rights.

Copyright grants you the exclusive rights to...

  • To reproduce the work in copies (e.g., through photocopying)
  • To distribute copies of the work
  • To prepare transitional or other derivative works
  • To perform or display the work publicly
  • To authorize others to exercise any of these rights
  • To reuse your work in teaching, future publications, and in all scholarly and professional activities.

To post your work on the web page (sometimes referred to as “self-archiving”), in a discipline archive (such as PubMed Central, or arXiv, or in an institutional repository (Profiles is Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist's for faculty only).

Know your rights under Fair Use, the TEACH Act, "public domain," and permissions to use copyrighted work. Copyright protection exists from the time the work is created in a fixed, tangible form of expression. However, registering a work for copyright affords the owner additional legal rights. You can register a work through the Copyright Clearance Center or directly with the U.S. Copyright Office.

The author of the original works owns the copyright unless the work was for hire and then the employer owns the copyright.

What you could lose if you sign away your rights?

The right to:

  • Use your work in a course pack
  • Place copies on print or electronic reserves
  • Mount a copy on your web site
  • Deposit a copy in your institutional repository
  • Distribute a copy to colleagues

Protecting Yourself & Your Work - Retain Your Rights

  • Often publishers create significant barriers for authors who want to reuse their work, or allow others to use it. Negotiating changes to these standard agreements can help authors avoid unfortunate barriers to reuse and sharing.
  • Some research funders require that work created with their funds be made available openly on the web (example: the NIH requires grant receivers to deposit articles into PubMed Central, see Carpenter Library Research Guide on NIH Public Access Compliance). 
  • Before you decide on a publisher, check Sherpa/Romeo for publishers policies.
  • Negotiate with the publishers to retain explicit ownership of your content or transfer, via an author addendum, to the publisher only those rights needed for publication.


Science Commons Author Addendum


Protecting & Using the Work of Others - What Are Citations?

Your use of other resources in your research must be acknowledged and referenced. There are many citation styles to choose from. Please see our Scholarly Writing & Citing guide for examples.

Protecting & Using the Work of Others - Fair Use

The Four Factors of Fair Use

The four factors judges consider are:

  • Purpose and character of your use - Is it of commercial nature or for nonprofit educational purposes? Non-profit educational use is the easiest to cover under fair use.
  • Nature of the copyrighted work - Factual or scientific materials fit better under fair use than creative works such as fiction, poetry, etc.
  • Amount and substantiality of the portion taken - The greater the work, the less likely it is to be fair use.
  • Effect of the use upon the potential market.- Can you easily purchase the copies you need? Are you repeatedly using something under fair use when you should be paying royalties?

Any determination of Fair Use must take all FOUR factors into consideration.

Protecting & Using the Work of Others - How to Get Premission

1. Determine whether permission is needed.

  • Refer to the Four Factors of Fair Use to determine if permission is needed.
  • Remember that you do not need to request permission if the work is licensed under a Creative Commons or other license agreement as long as you follow the terms of the license. 
  • You do not need permission for works that are in the public domain. 
  • Most U.S. Government documents are free to use. 
  • You may need permission to reuse your own material if you signed it over to a publisher.

2. Identify the copyright owner.

  • Look for a copyright statement on the work
  • Because a copyright statement is NOT required, look for the person or group that is associated with the work (author or publisher)

3. Request permission.

  • Publishers will frequently have "Permission Requests" forms or contacts on their websites. Follow their conventions as closely as possible to make the process easy.
  • Some publishers, especially journal publishers, use the Copyright Clearance Center’s Rightslink® service to facilitate permissions requests; a link is often located with the full text of an article. Publishers frequently charge for granting permissions using Rightslink.
  • If a process for requesting permission is not established, or if the copyright owner is an individual rather than a publisher, contact the copyright owner directly. Contact by phone, letter, or email, but be sure to make the following information available about your request:
    • Who you are (faculty, researcher)
    • What material you are looking to reuse as specifically as possible (include page numbers, title of images, etc.)
    • Where and How you intend to reuse the material (course management system, open access journal article, etc.)
    • The time frame for your reuse of the material (for one semester, indefinitely)

​4. Keep good records of all your licensing information and correspondence, even your unanswered efforts to secure permission to reuse copyrighted material.

Managing Your References

A critical part of the research process is keeping track of where you found a particular idea, picture, fact, or quote so you can properly cite it in your work according to an accepted style. Reference management software programs are tools to help you do this easily and efficiently.  The Carpenter Library offers training and support on EndNote and Zotero

Read this review to see which one is best for you. 

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