Researchers most often want to reproduce published works for private study, or to incorporate a work (or portion of a work) into another work of their own creation, such as a dissertation, a course project, an article for publication, or a derivative work based on another person's work.
Reproduction of a work is one of the six exclusive rights protected under copyright and reserved for the owner. However, there are several exceptions to an owner's exclusive rights that allow researchers and scholars to reproduce copyrighted works without permission from the copyright owner.
Fair Use is the first of these exceptions and probably most well known. It places limits on the exclusive rights a copyright owner enjoys. The extent of the limits depends on careful consideration of the four fair-use factors anytime a researcher proposes to use copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright owner.
The second exception is granted to libraries and allows for the reproduction of single articles and small portions of other works for library patrons. Section 108 of the U.S. copyright law makes it possible for libraries to support research by providing copies of some of the materials in their collections.
A third exception is when the copyright on the published work has expired and the work is now in the public domain. Several charts (Hirtle, Gasaway) are available to assist researchers in determining the status of copyrighted materials.
In all situations, it is the researcher's responsibility to determine if the reproduction is permitted under the exceptions noted above or any other exceptions available under the U.S. copyright law.
Content in this page was used or adapted with permission from one or more institutions. Please see acknowledgements.