U.S. Copyright Law and "Fair Use"
In the United States, intellectual property rights are governed primarily by the Copyright Act of 1976 (Public Law 94-553). The doctrine of "fair use" that it spells out suggests the following guidelines for college research:
For an unpublished research paper,
For a published research paper (such as a paper posted on the Web),
Note: I am not a lawyer, and these guidelines are merely a summary of a layman's understanding of a complex legal field; therefore, these guidelines do not constitute professional legal advice.
Sometimes holders of copyrighted material grant blanket permission on-screen. For example, notice the illustration at the top of an informational Web page that I've created:
At the bottom of the page you will find my acknowledgement of the source and a link to the copyright holder's site. If you follow the link, you'll notice that the designer of the site has posted specific requirements for the use of her material, and that my Web page is in compliance with them.
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