Skip to Main Content

Research Guides

Open Access, Scholarly Communication, and Copyright: Copyright

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons licenses are a "simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work - on the conditions of your choice."

Creative Commons licenses give flexibility and protection to both the artists and writers of creative works and the users and consumers of those works.

If you are looking for content that you can freely and legally use there are hundreds of millions of works available - from songs to scientific to and educational material - available for free and legal use to the public. Learn more about the Creative Commons

Copyright Basics

Link to YouTube video:

Copyright on Campus Video

Link to YouTube video:

University of Idaho Copyright Policy

The University of Idaho is committed to respecting the rights of copyright holders and complying with copyright law. This website provides information and educational tools to assist faculty, staff, and students in making informed decisions regarding appropriate uses of copyrighted materials.

For further information about copyright at the University of Idaho, please consult the University of Idaho Faculty Staff Handbook section 5300 and section 6580. You can also contact the University of Idaho's Office of General Counsel at 208-885-6125 or

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of legal protection for authors of original works, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual products. Publication is not essential for copyright protection, nor is the well known symbol of the "encircled c" (©). Copyright provides these creators with a set of limited exclusive rights. The law balances the private interests of copyright owners with the public interest and is intended, in the words of the Constitution, "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for a limited time to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

U.S. copyright law grants copyright owners the exclusive rights to:

  • reproduce a work;
  • prepare derivative works based on the original;
  • distribute copies to the public;
  • perform the work publicly; and
  • display the work publicly

The copyright owner may transfer or license one or more of these rights to others for a specific period of time or in perpetuity. In the case of works created by employees during the course of and within the scope of their employment, the employer is considered to be the author. U.S. copyright law defines such work as works for hire.

Exceptions and limitations to these exclusive rights are listed in Sections 107 through 122 of the first chapter of the U.S. Copyright Act. These exceptions are integral to the balance of exclusive rights on the one hand and productive, socially-beneficial new uses of works on the other.

For more detailed information on copyright, check out the University of Idaho Library's Copyright resources