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Provides a general introduction to copyright, fair use, copyright ownership, copyright for instructors, and useful resources.

Public Domain

What is the Public Domain?

The public domain refers to all material that is not under copyright protection, and can therefore be used freely and without restriction. This includes works that have exceeded the duration of copyright, works produced by federal or state governments, and works that have been dedicated to the public domain by their creators.

Creative Commons

What are Creative Commons Licenses?

Creative Commons licenses are a set of pre-defined copyright licenses, that provide an easy and effective way for creators to provide access to their work. The creative commons licenses are proven, legally valid copyright licenses that provide a blanket license to users, provided they follow the rules of the license (more details on the types of CC licenses can be found below). These licenses work as part of the existing ecosystem of copyright law, and do not interfere with fair use or other copyright exceptions, or the ability to ask for permission from the creator of a work.

Music Copyright

Music presents a number of unique copyright issues - here are some resources that deal specifically with copyright and music.

More Copyright Resources

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)




Copyright and Accessibility

Copyright Education

Other Intellectual Property Resources

While this guide focuses on copyright, there are two other forms of intellectual property protection:

  • Patents - protection that applies to new inventions to grant to the inventor the exclusive right to "exclude others from making, using, offering for sale or selling" their invention in the United States. The term for a new patent is 20 years.
  • Trademarks - protection that applies to a word, name, symbol, or device that is used in trade goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others. A "servicemark" is the same except that it identifies the source of a service rather than a product (like "FedEx").

Here are some resources to help you get started.

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.