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Copyright: Welcome

Librarian Profile

Joseph Thomas
1304 Joyner Library
3502C Laupus Library

New Copyright Officer!

ECU's Copyright Officer is Joseph Thomas. Joseph is Joyner Library's Assistant Director for Research & Scholarly Communication. William Gee, the former Copyright Officer, has returned full-time to his role as Access Services Librarian at Joyner Library.

Contact the Copyright Officer at or 252-737-2728.

Welcome to the ECU Copyright Guide

ECU faculty, staff, and students have a responsibility to use materials in compliance with US Copyright law. To assist with compliance, this guide has been created with advice on frequently ask questions and links to further resources and help from ECU's Copyright Officer. Of particular note, consult the following.

  • ECU released a new Copyright Regulation in 2013. This replaces the former policy from the Faculty Manual.
  • The University of North Carolina system has a Copyright Policy
  • The ECU Office of Technology Transfer has posted an intermediate level document, Copyright Basics, written by the Copyright Taskforce of the University of North Carolina.
  • U.S. Copyright law and court cases interpreting it supersede these policies if there is a conflict.

Copyright law might seem vague. This is because the law is written broadly and refined by court cases, so there might only be general principles to follow rather than a definitive “right or wrong” answer. With the easy ability to photocopy, scan, duplicate, rip, and save all manner of materials, it often seems that since something can be copied without asking permission that doing so must be okay. This simply is not the case. It is important for you to understand the basics of copyright law and how to obtain permission to use other people's works - just as you might want your works to be protected. 

The information in this guide is provided to help provide a basic understanding about U.S. Copyright. This guide is not intended to provide legal advice. Only the ECU Attorney’s office can provide legal advice on behalf of the University. Questions regarding personal legal issues should be directed to private counsel.


Copyright Officer Services

Guidance on what constitutes fair use for classroom and publishing

Assistance obtaining copyright permissions

Consultation with students completing a thesis or dissertation

Help understanding publishing agreements

Determination of ECU or personal ownership of work

Assistance with legal resources for advanced questions

Presentations to classes, departments, & student groups