Skip to Main Content

Copyright Resources: About Copyright

Copyright resources for the Fordham University community.


This guide was created for information purposes only.  It is not considered legal advice. If you would like legal advice regarding copyright, please inquire with the Office of Legal Counsel.

Copyright Guidance at Fordham University Libraries

copyright symbolWelcome to Fordham Libraries' Copyright Resources Libguide. We are committed to supporting open access to scholarly library resources, upholding authors’ rights to distribute their research, providing and promoting scholarly materials for all library patrons, and encouraging the output of scholarly communications.

While copyright can be a confusing topic, familiarity with copyright basics is necessary for all faculty and students. This guide offers resources and materials to assist the university community with understanding copyright as it relates to teaching, learning, and research.

Need more help with copyright? Contact our copyright team.

Intellectual Property Policies at Fordham

What is Copyright?

Title 17 of the United States Code of the Copyright Law defines copyright as "original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression." It gives copyright holders a set of exclusive rights to:

  • reproduce the work, in whole or in part
  • distribute copies of the work
  • publicly perform the work
  • publicly display the work
  • prepare derivative works based on the original, such as translations or adaptations

These rights are subject to exceptions and limitations, such as a fair use provision that allows limited uses of works without permission from the copyright holder.

What is protected and not protected under copyright?

 To be protected by copyright, a work must be original and recorded. It cannot be copied or expressed without being recorded. Types of works protected by copyright include:

  • literary works
  • musical works, including any accompanying words
  • dramatic works, including any accompanying music
  • pantomimes and choreographic works
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • sound recordings
  • architectural works

The reproduction of these forms of copyrighted works requires either written permissions from the creators, or compliance with Fair Use.

What is not protected by copyright?

  • facts or ideas
  • titles, names, short phrases, or slogans
  • procedures, methods, systems or processes
  • works of the United States government
  • works that have passed into the public domain


Portions of this guide were taken in whole, or part, with permission from the Springshare Community Best of Copyright and Fair Use Guides: NYU: Copyright, NYU: Copyright for Authors & Creators, and GSU Copyright Overview.

Circulation & Reserve Departments

Circulation & Reserve Departments
Fordham University Libraries

Walsh Library  ♦  Rose Hill Campus  ♦  718-817-5109  ♦  718-817-3578
Quinn Library  ♦  Lincoln Center Campus  ♦  212-636-6062  ♦  212-636-6061
Fordham Westchester Library  ♦  Fordham Westchester Campus  ♦  914-367-3060  ♦  914-367-3061   ♦   ♦