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Copyright 101

Guidelines for posting potentially copyrighted material on your social media accounts

What kinds of material can be copyrighted?

Written work
Published work

Is it fair use?

Determining fair use of materials can be difficult, but it likely is fair use if the use falls under one of these categories:

The purpose of use is non-profit, educational, or personal
Published material is factual in nature
Only a small amount of the material will be posted
Impact on the market for the material is very small

Not fair use?

It’s possible that the use does not fall under the fair use rule if it falls under one of these categories:

You’re using the material for a commercial
The material is unpublished
Most of the material will be posted
Posting the material will hurt the original owner

What happens if I illegally use copyrighted material?

You may receive a “cease and desist” letter
The owner of the copyrighted material may get an injunction or a court order to get you to stop using their material
The owner may also file a claim for damages suffered

What if I want to repost something from social media?

When materials are posted on sites like Facebook, they immediately fall under an Intellectual Property (IP) license. This means that those materials are allowed to be shared all over the world without further permission and without paying any royalties. Some sites also reserve the right to change, commercialize, or display those materials. The IP license ends when the original materials or account is deleted unless the materials have been shared with others who have not deleted it.

How do I get permission to use copyrighted materials?

Contact the owner
Contact DSU’s general counsel