Copyright Resources: Getting Started

This guide contains information and resources to support KU students, faculty, and staff in their efforts to use and create copyrighted works in teaching and learning, research, and creative activity.

KU Libraries Copyright Support

KU Libraries’ Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright  and Digital Initiatives provides front-line information, resources, and consultations to KU faculty, staff, and students concerning copyright and fair use of copyrighted materials as they apply to teaching and research, with guidance from the KU Office of the General Counsel as needed. Contact us at for assistance. Our team includes:

We are not attorneys and do not offer legal advice.

Additional Intellectual Property Support at KU

There are other resources at KU that can provide support for relevant intellectual property questions:

The Office of the General Counsel - deals with policy issues regarding intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, and copyright and provides legal advice to faculty and staff working within the course and scope of their jobs.

Licensing Trademark & Trademark Office - provides information and oversight of the use of the Jayhawk and other KU trademarks, including crafters and others who wish to make and market KU-themed items.

Information Technology (KU IT) - responds to inquiries regarding possible Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) violations. For more information, see KU IT's DMCA page.

Acceptable Use of Electronic Information Resources - this policy outlines the expectations for the use of electronic information resources at the University of Kansas, including:

  • Responsibilities of Users
  • Responsibilities of the University
  • Reporting Irresponsible Use of Electronic Information Resources
  • Consequences
  • Recourse/Appeals

Rights & Disclaimer

The information and resources shared in this guide and its various pages are intended to be educational and informational. KU Libraries makes every effort to assure the accuracy of this information but do not provide it as legal counsel or advice.

Except where noted, this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,  Terms of use for the individual resources linked from this guide may vary.

Creative Commons License

Getting Started: Copyright Decision Tree

KU Libraries collaborated with the Office of General Counsel on the development of a Copyright Decision Tree, a flow chart in the form of an interactive slide show that helps users determine whether they are using copyrighted materials in compliance with U.S. copyright law, including fair use, and recommends risk mitigation strategies.

Learning About Copyright

There are many great resources for learning about copyright. In addition to those listed throughout this guide, interested learners might consider:

Copyright for Educators & Librarians - This free course from Coursera is designed to provide a basic introduction to U.S. copyright law and to empower teachers and librarians at all grade levels.

Copyright for Librarians (Harvard) - This online open curriculum on copyright law is a joint project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) which aspires to inform librarians concerning copyright law in general, the aspects of copyright law that most affect libraries, & how librarians in the future could most effectively participate in the processes by which copyright law is interpreted and shaped.  The course modules are available in several languages.

Topics covered include:

Copyright for Librarians: The Essential Handbook (Harvard University) - This freely downloadable English-language textbook companion to Copyright for Librarians, linked above, is available for download as a pdf.  Other formats, including an audiobook, are available for download at the bottom of the Copyright for Librarians course page

Intro to Copyright Video