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Copyright guidance and information for the Franklin University community

What Can I Use?

As discussed on the "What is Copyright" page, copyright applies to a broad range of works, and gives the copyright holder the right to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute, perform, and display the work.

This page briefly lists types of works you can use. Many of these categories include links to pages of this guide with more information.

Owned Works

If you created a work (and have not transferred the copyright), you can use the work. If you are a Franklin University employee who wants to use a work as part of your employment, you can not only use the works you create, you can also use other works to which Franklin University owns the copyright (which likely includes works created by co-workers at Franklin University in the course of their employment).

Licensed Works

Franklin University, and the Franklin University Library, have licenses which permit members of the Franklin University community to use certain works.

There may be other licenses (such as the Creative Commons license) which apply to a work. 

If a license applies and your use is consistent with the terms of the license, you can use the work. For more information, see this guide's license page.

Open Educational Resources

According to UNESCO, Open Educational Resources are "learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others."1 Our Open Educational Resource Guide provides more information about, and links to, Open Educational Resources.

Footnote 1:

Works in the Public Domain

Works which are not protected by copyright -- either because they were never entitled to copyright protection, or because the copyright expired and they are no longer protected by copyright, are in the public domain. For more information, see this guide's public domain page.

If a work is in the public domain, you can use the work.

Copyright Exceptions

There are exceptions to the rights provided by the copyright law which may let someone who does not own the copyright make use of the work. Those exceptions include

  1. certain educational uses -- both in-person and for distance education -- for more information see this guide's educational uses page;
  2. the first sale doctrine -- for more information see the resources box on this page;
  3. exceptions for libraries and archives -- or more information see the resources box on this page; and
  4. fair use -- for more information, see this guide's fair use page.

If an exception to the copyright law applies, and your use is consistent with the exception, you can use the work.


If you have the permission of the copyright holder to use the work, and your use is consistent with the permission, you can use the work. For more information, about how permissions affect copyright, and how to properly request permission, see this guide's permissions page.

Video: Copyright on the Internet (U.S. Copyright Office)

The U.S. Copyright Office's "Copyright on the Internet" video discusses a variety of situations where someone can use materials created by someone else and provides a good overview of what use you can make of materials created by others. The principles discussed apply to offline uses as well as online uses.

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