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Communication: Interpersonal/Organizational: Copyright

Copyright in Communications

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 the University Copyright Officer. Of particular note, consult the following resources:

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.

Using Media

Creative Commons is a licensing movement that allows the use of copyright works under specific licence terms. Creative Commons works are free for use as long as the terms of the license compiled with.

Creative Commons works are bound by licence restrictions, the main restrictions of Creative Commons licences are:


Attribution iconAttribution means:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work - and derivative works based upon it - but only if they give you credit.

Noncommercial iconNoncommercial means:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work - and derivative works based upon it - but for noncommercial purposes only.

No Derivative Works iconNo Derivative Worksmeans:
You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.

Share Alike iconShare Alike means:
You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.

Example of Attribution

Attribution Some rights reserved by John E. Lester

The example above uses the exact link from Flickr Creative Commons, and links back to their pages.

How do I properly attribute a Creative Commons licensed work? See the following link: