To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
—U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8
This site provides tools and resources for the Brown Community to assist in making informed decisions about the proper use of copyrighted materials in an academic setting. For Brown community members interested in Brown's policy on the ownership of intellectual property created at Brown by members of the Brown community, go to Brown's Patent and Invention Policy and Copyright Policy.
Brown University expects that all members of the University community respect the rights of ownership of intellectual property by adhering to United States copyright law. The principle of fair use as set forth in the copyright act provides essential limitations to the exclusive rights of copyright owners that support the University's mission of teaching, scholarship, research, and free inquiry. In an effort to balance copyright law with fair use principles, Brown University is committed to providing tools and resources to the University community to assist decision-making in this complex environment.
Using Copyrighted Works
There are many factors which may determine whether or not you can use a copyrighted work for a particular purpose . The following links can help you to:
- determine the copyright status of the work you intend to use
- determine if the University already has a license covering your intended use
- determine if the copyright law includes an exception for your intended use
- determine if the principles of fair use will permit your intended use without getting permission
- get permission or purchase a license for the use of a copyrighted work
- provide you with some options if you cannot get permission.
 The first five of these bullet points borrow from the excellent work done by Kevin Smith in his book Owning and Using Scholarship: an IP Handbook for Teachers and Researchers (Chicago: Assoc. of College and Research Libraries, 2014), especially Chapter 4: “Using Copyright Works in Scholarship”