Stay on the right side of copyright law: If you did not originally write, film, design, paint, draft, photograph, compose, sketch, or otherwise create the work, you must obtain permission to use it and properly credit it.
For more information or individual consultation services, visit the Kansas State University Copyright site.
- I found material for my newspaper column on the Web, but I always include the website as a source. Is that OK?
You certainly may direct readers to relevant educational websites that offer information about the column’s topic. Never copy and paste blocks of material from the site into your column unless you obtain permission to reprint and credit the originator. You may use a journalistic style and report the information, along with the source, if the mention is brief and spontaneous. (See Fair Use.) Keep the attribution with the quoted or paraphrased material to avoid any appearance of plagiarism. Newspapers often delete the last part of an item to fit, which could eliminate references at the end of the column.
To summarize or quote from a consumer-level article or to reprint all or part of an article, obtain reprint permission and cite the source: “Used with permission of ...” or “Reprinted from ... .” Ask if the source wants a specific citation form used.
- Does the concept of fair use cover me as an educator?
Fair use involves using quoted material in scholarly reports, critiques, teaching, news reporting, or commentary. Use must be brief, noncommercial, spontaneous, and with consideration given to the cumulative effect of such use. See information on the Kansas State University Copyright site or Circular 21: Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians, from the U.S. Copyright Office.
- What about material from K-State Research and Extension news stories or publications? May I use that?
Use such material with attribution. Never present it as your own work — even if an author has given you permission to do so. While it may be unintended, it is plagiarism.
When using several sources to write an article or column in your own words, it is not necessary to list references, but keep them handy in the event that someone contacts you for additional information.
- Another state has a publication I would like to revise for Kansas. How should I proceed?
If the material comes from another land-grant university, send the author or publication coordinator a letter to request permission. (Often e-mail will do: See Requesting Permission.) Some states are generous with reprint/revision rights, but others are protective of their intellectual property. In some cases the institution might not own the reprint rights. Using the material might involve a fee. Most material from the federal government is in the public domain, but material from some state governments is not.
When reporting information based on a journal article, research statistics, or another professional-level source, use a journalistic approach: “According to researchers at Purdue ...” or “California Agriculture reports in a recent article ... .” Use your own words to report or summarize the information.
- Since I work for Kansas State University, may I use the logo?
The logo (referred to as a wordmark) is required on K-State publications, envelopes, newsletters, business cards, and some other official documents. A licensing program regulates logo use intended for profit. For more information, contact K-State’s Trademark Licensing office at 785-532-6269.
Photo release, reference, and reprint guidelines
- Complete a Photo Release Form for any recognizable individual in the photo who is not an employee of Kansas State University or K-State Research and Extension.
- Use a Permission to Reprint Form for photos when the photographer is not an employee of K-State Research and Extension. Professional photographers or volunteers who provide photos must be credited for their work and might require compensation.
More about copyright
- The 1976 Copyright Act protects creators of original works. Copyright protects the creator of the work as soon as it is in a fixed state — including e-mail, handwritten notes, sketches, or drafts.
- Using the copyright symbol © and formal application are not required. The lack of a copyright symbol or fact that the material is publicly available, does notmean the work is in the public domain.
- For official information, visit: www.copyright.gov and review the “Copyright Basics” information. For information specific to Kansas State University, visit the Copyright site at: http://www.k-state.edu/copyright/.
- For a simple video from the commercial Copyright Clearance Center at www.copyright.com, review “Copyright on Campus” at http://www.copyright.com/content/cc3/en/toolbar/education/resources/copyright_on_campus.html.