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The following are recommended resources for learning more about different aspects of copyright, organized by topic.
The Copyright Office website allows you to register copyrights, search copyright records, and learn more about copyright.
This website offers an overview of most aspects of copyright law, including fair use, permissions, and the public domain.
This website offers a useful overview of copyright, fair use, and permissions.
This guide allows anyone interested in understanding and managing their copyrights to explore different areas of copyright law.
This series of videos provides an overview of copyright as it relates to music.
This comprehensive chart helps determine whether a work has entered the public domain in the U.S.
This tool helps determine whether a work is still protected by copyright.
This website helps determine whether the copyright for a work has been renewed. See How Can I Tell Whether a Copyright Was Renewed? for more information on how to investigate renewals.
This organization looks at intellectual property through a social justice lens, offering online resources and an annual conference.
Fair Use Resources
This PDF tool helps make fair use assessments by working through each of the four factors.
This website provides summaries of fair use cases, which are useful for understanding how fair use decisions are made.
This series of Codes of Best Practices help illuminate the application of fair use in different areas like documentary filmmaking, academic and research libraries, visual arts, online video, and journalism.
The index tracks fair use decisions made by U.S. courts.
Permissions and Public Licenses Resources
This guide offers a detailed overview of what permission is and how to seek it.
This page offers an overview of how to ask for permission, along with several model permissions letters.
Permissions FAQ (Association of University Presses)
This guide offers permissions guidelines as they typically apply to university press publishing, including several model permissions letters.
Creative Commons offers a suite of public licenses and information about how to use them.
Courses and Webinars
CopyrightX (Harvard Law School)
CopyrightX is an online course offered annually. The course lectures and readings cover a variety of copyright topics and are available at the website, as is information on applications for the course itself.
This course provides a basic introduction to U.S. copyright law over four weeks’ worth of sessions.
CopyTalk (ALA OITP Copyright Education Subcommittee)
CopyTalk is a series of webinars on specific copyright topics. Most are archived on their website.
Northwestern Copyright Policies
Copyright Policy (Innovation and New Ventures Office/INVO)
Covered by this policy: Members of the University's academic community who create works at the University resulting from their research, teaching, artistic creativity or writing.
This policy addresses copyright in materials held by the Northwestern University Libraries.
For More Information
Northwestern University Libraries offer information about copyright law to help you make decisions about how to share and use copyrighted material in your research, learning, and teaching activities, and to help you understand the rights you hold in your own copyrighted work.
Email the copyright librarian to ask any questions that aren't addressed here, to set up a research consultation, or to set up a presentation or workshop on copyright for your class or group.
Other university resources:
This guide contains information about copyright law. It is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, please consult an attorney.