McQuade Library will not knowingly publish works that violate U.S. copyright law. However, the ultimate responsibility to honor copyright rules and regulations lies with you, the author. If you use whole materials (images, video, audio, etc.) in your work that are protected by copyright, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder to republish them in your own work. Citing a source is not the same as obtaining copyright permission. [Note: it is acceptable to cite portions of text from a larger work. You do not need to seek copyright permission to use quotations in your paper, for example.]
Often, there is a difference between using copyrighted material in an assignment you turn in for a class and republishing copyrighted material on the web. What is acceptable in your coursework may not be legal to publish in Merrimack ScholarWorks. Please speak with us about specific instances – librarians are available to consult with you about your rights and responsibilities.
When is it acceptable merely to cite your source, and when do you need to obtain copyright permission to use a source? It depends! Here are some common examples:
- Quotations – when quoting from books, articles, websites, or other publications, be sure to give a complete citation that will allow the reader to locate your original source in its entirety.
- Tables, data, sources of statistics, diagrams – if including reproductions of these types of sources, give a complete citation that will allow the reader to locate your source.
- Human subjects – if your research includes human subjects, please consult the Blackboard site for the Institutional Review Board for guidelines and procedures.
- Websites – almost every website includes copyright information. Please review the site carefully; just because something is freely available via the web does not mean it can be used without permission.
- Media (audio, sound recordings, software, video, etc.) – if sound bites or clips are not original (made by you), you will need to obtain permission from the copyright owner(s), which could include the performer, the composer, and the publisher. Music can be especially tricky, so don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.
- Images (photos, artwork, sculptures, graphics, paintings, etc.) - you must comply with one of the following:
- if an image is not original (created by you), you must cite it correctly and also obtain permission from the copyright owner
- you can include a URL in your publication, but not the image itself
A notable exception to this guideline pertains to public domain images. If you use a public domain image that has been published on the web, you may reproduce that image in your work as long as you cite it properly (you do not need to obtain copyright permission from the person/entity which digitized the public domain image). McQuade Library refers authors to Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., 36 F. Supp. 2d 191 (S.D.N.Y. 1999) for background.
If you have additional questions about these procedures, contact us.