About Copyright

[The Congress shall have power] "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

- U.S. Constitution, Article I Section 8 Clause 8

The Digital Library and Archives provides copyright guidance to the Virginia Tech community based on its 20-years of experience with online scholarly communications, including its work with

Out of these and other activities, we have gained a wealth of experience with copyright for scholarship and instruction. We will help you interpret the copyright law, U.S. Code, Title 17.

Copyright in Scholarship and Instruction & an Open Access Primer, Feb. 7, 2012
© for Human Development Professional Development Seminar, Oct. 30, 2009 (handout)
ETDs@VT: Copyright--Your Rights and Responsibilities, Feb. 16, 2011 (flier)


Myths about Copyright
(original by Brad Templeton)

  • Copying just a little bit is OK.
  • Attribution is as good as permission.
  • It's free advertising.
  • I modified it; now it's mine.
  • It's OK--it's for educational purposes.
  • You have to give away all your rights to get published.
  • It doesn't say it's copyrighted.
  • It's on the Web so I can use it without asking.

As of March 1, 1989, the copyright warning does not have to appear for a work to be legally copyrighted. However, it is a good idea to remind people of your copyrights by including:

© 1997 by [your name]

Consider adding statements that grant permission or restrict use, such as:

"Permission is given to copy this work provided credit is given and copies are not intended for sale."

Additional Sample Statements of Ownership

Creative Commons licensing options


For additional information or assistance, contact Gail McMillan, Director, Digital Library and Archives