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Fair Use and Copyright

About this guide

The library does not and cannot give legal advice - we're librarians, not lawyers! But just like most other types of questions, librarians are happy to talk to you about your question and point you to resources to help you find an answer. 

This guide reflects the most common questions, concerns, and comments we hear at the library about copyright and Fair Use.

What is Copyright?

Copyright is legal protection for certain creative works that controls who may legally copy, sell, display, perform, or adapt those works. In the United States, it comes from Title 17 of the U.S. Code, and it applies to "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression," including books, articles, movies, and music - in other words, most of the things accessed in or through the library.

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Copyright and Library Licensed Electronic Resources

Unless otherwise noted, electronic resources available through the UC Santa Cruz University Library are licensed by the university for non-commercial use by UC faculty, staff, students, and on-site users, for educational or research purposes only. Additional restrictions may apply to on-site users of certain databases. The terms and conditions of the UC and UC Santa Cruz agreements with the vendors and publishers of these electronic resources regulate the use of these resources. These conditions include, but are not limited to, restrictions on copying, republishing, text mining, altering, redistributing and reselling the information contained therein. Fee-for-service providers may not copy and resell texts from licensed sources to non-subscribing individuals, institutions or organizations.

Specific examples of prohibited uses include systematically retaining or printing licensed content like an entire issue of a journal, transmitting an article to a mailing list or an electronic bulletin board, or enabling others to be able to dispense with a subscription. Restrictions vary from resource to resource and you should not assume that a permitted use at one site indicates a general rule applicable to all sites.

You are personally accountable according to the UCSC Library Computer Use Policy for respecting copyright and licensing requirements. Breaches of University license agreements could result not only in loss of your own access, but loss of access for the entire UC Santa Cruz community.

Copies of agreements entered into by the California Digital Library (CDL) on behalf of the University of California system can be viewed at: CDL License Agreements. For further questions about conditions of use or other licensing restrictions, please contact us.

**The above wording was taken from the UC Davis Library policy page - with permission.