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Research Guides

Copyright and Fair Use


Copyright and Fair Use are important issues in research, publishing, and teaching. The purpose of Copyright is "To promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries" (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8, U.S. Constitution). While its best-known feature is protection of owners’ rights, the copying, quoting, and general reuse of existing cultural and scientific material can be a critically important part of generating new research and culture thereby promoting intellectual exchange. This is where Fair Use comes into play, which is a set of flexible guidelines for the legitimate uses of copyrighted materials, whether as transformative for art, or for teaching purposes in the classroom.

This guide is provided for informational purposes only. It does not provide legal advice for specific situations. Inclusion of links to external sites does not constitute an endorsement of the sites by the guide creator, MSU Libraries, or Mississippi State University.

Note: "It is the responsibility of individual teachers and researchers to learn about copyright and reach informed conclusions, understanding that the primary responsibility for making appropriate decisions about fair use of copyrighted material rests with the individual faculty or staff member." (MSU OP 01.20)

MSU Libraries Copyright Resources