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Copyright Resources to Support Publishing and Teaching

A guide for faculty, staff, and students at Penn about how to obtain, manage, and understand copyright issues for their work

Understanding Copyright

We've all seen the copyright symbol lurking in the corner of a paper or the footer of a website, but what exactly is copyright and how do you get it for your own work? What does it mean when something is under copyright, and how does that affect your teaching and scholarship? This guide aims to help you get started in untangling these questions. This page is not intended to serve as a substitute for independent legal advice, but we can give you the tools to make more informed decisions about using copyrighted materials, and help you to make choices about what you want to do with your own work.


copyright symbol


Note: Most of the content in this guide is geared toward U.S. copyright law. For more information on international copyright law, see this page.


This guide is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice.

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Christine E. Weller

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Requests for Permission

Requests for permission to use in-copyright content owned by the University of Pennsylvania, or the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania is not addressed in this guide or through these services.  Requests to license in-copyright works owned by the University are fielded by The Penn Center for Innovation or the individual school, or school center that is the copyright-holder.