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Copyright at OHSU

Guide to copyright basics, exemptions and use in teaching, scholarship and for students

Copright and scholarship resources

Open access resources


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In scholarship it is common practice to reuse others' work. This includes peer reviewed papers; posters; theses and dissertations; book chapters; conference presentations; and preprints. When reusing such works, authors should be mindful of copyright law, scholarly communication expectations and publishing practices.

In this section you will learn when you can use others' work without permission and what to do when permission is needed.

When can I use the work of others?

Using the work of others in your scholarship might not require permission if the work is in the public domain; it has a Creative Commons license; you own the copyright; or you have determined your use would be considered fair use.

When making a fair use determination, the law requires four factors be considered. Each of these factors is given equal weight:

  1. The purpose and character of the use
  2. The nature of the copyrighted work
  3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used
  4. The effect upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

Use a fair use checklist to weigh these factors and document your assessment. Cornell has a helpful example of a fair use checklist for download.

If you determine that your use would not be considered fair, you should seek written permission from the copyright owner. Publishers often require written permission from a copyright owner regardless of fair use.