Copyright & Intellectual Property

This page provides a general overview of copyrights and the University’s Intellectual Property Policy. This area of law is nuanced and complex therefore you should consult with our office before taking any action in this area.

For more information regarding copyright and fair use, please see our Copyright and Fair Use FAQ.  If you have specific questions regarding copyrights or the University’s Intellectual Property Policy, please contact our office.

If you have questions regarding licensing and trademarks, please contact the Office of Licensing and Trademarks.


A copyright is a set of rights that you have with respect to your own original expression, as long as you have “fixed” or recorded that expression in some tangible form for more than a transitory period of time. The Constitutional purpose of granting a copyright is to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts.” Copyrights do this by giving you enough rights to control and be compensated for the use of your expressive works that you are incentivized to create and distribute those works, which benefits the public and allows human culture to thrive. As the owner of a copyright in an original work of expression, you have the exclusive right for the duration of the copyright to copy the work in whole or in part, adapt it to a different form (e.g., translate it into another language, develop a screenplay from a novel, make a jazz arrangement of a pop song), and publicly distribute, display, or perform the work.

The University’s Intellectual Property Policy applies to copyrightable intellectual property developed by faculty, students, and staff as well as others that use University resources. Copyrighted works are subdivided into Traditional Works of Scholarship, ownership of which remains with the creator of the work, and University Works, as to which the University retains ownership rights.

If you wish to use University Works, you must first request and obtain permission to do so using our Copyright Permissions Requests Form.

Our office does not provide legal advice to individual authors with respect to works in which they own the copyright.