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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 can give you some 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 with red question mark on top of it


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.

Copyright Support and Education: Create or Use Copyrighted Works

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries Copyright LibGuides are designed to assist the growing needs of students, faculty, and staff in understanding the practical issues that arise under United States Copyright law in connection with their scholarship, research, and teaching activities.

What Support is Offered?

  • Workshops on topics such as: understanding copyright, academic publishing and author's rights, fair use, investigating the rights-status of a creative work, creative commons licenses, and finding open access content
  • Customized presentations / trainings for individuals, group sessions, or in the classroom
  • Consultations
  • Office hours on copyright and information policy issues
  • Resource referrals

Do you have something particular in mind, or are you not sure where to start? You can connect with your departmental Library Subject Specialist (arranged alphabetically by subject), or seek a referral by emailing  For a list of current workshops and trainings please see the list available at this link.

Copyright support and the associated copyright LibGuides are for educational purposes only, and are not intended to serve as legal advice.  If you need personal legal advice or representation on matters unrelated to university business, you may be able to obtain information and/or assistance from the resources listed below:


The purpose of this guide is to provide resources and information for resolving copyright questions. This research guide is for educational purposes only, and is not legal advice.


Need help? Schedule an appointment with a copyright expert by clicking on the link above.


Copyright events


Penn Libraries Copyright Blog

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.

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