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Art and Design: Copyright

A basic research guide to Art and Design for Marshall University students.

Copyright Basics

Copyright and fair use are of special concern to artists.

As both creators and users of copyrighted and public domain materials, Marshall University art students should understand and responsibly exercise the rights accorded them under U.S. copyright law.

This provides guidance on how to protect your own copyrights and how to respect the copyrights of others.  Note: 

Resources listed on this pages are informational only and should not be substituted for legal advice.

For more information regarding copyright, please contact Sabrina Thomas at

Fair Use

The Fair Use Doctrine protects the use of copyrighted works for socially beneficial activities such as teaching, learning, and scholarship. Courts consider four factors in deciding whether a use is Fair Use or an infringement:

  1. Purpose of the Use (learning, commentary, criticism OR commercial);
  2. Nature of the Publication (factual OR creative);
  3. Amount and Substantiality of the Whole (small OR substantial);
  4. Effect on the Market (has no effect OR replaces a sale).


Section 107 of U.S. Copyright law lists the four factors of Fair Use.

Helpful websites:

Artistic Appropriation and Reuse

Helpful Books