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Research Guides

Things to know about copyright: Getting Started

The important policies governing the Copyright Law of the U.S. is emphasized here; particularly those that concern students and instructors. Special mention is made about the Copyright policies for the Library Course Reserves.

This Guide and the screen

Hello, thank you for your visit. To make this visit fruitful, you need to become familiar with this guide. To start, let us take a good look at this screen. From left to right you may notice that there are 3 frames across, and each frame discusses a different subject. Please do not fail to scroll down as you read each frame.

Now, let us look at the top of the screen. The top portion are parts of your browser like the address bar and the menu bars. As you go down you will find the Internet part, which tells you that you are at Long Beach City College Library site you can see the name of the college across the screen .  Below this is the web page where this guide is. Notice that the top of this page has tabs. If you click each tab you will learn more about the various topics related to U.S. Copyright. Please visit each tab if you wish to get more information on a sub topic that may interest you.      


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Most of us learn from the information that we get from published materials. These published materials were created by individuals, groups or organizations and institutions. Creators of published information are normally considered owners of these publications. These may appear as tangible materials or in printed form, digitized media or in audio or video formats. The creators or publishers of information are protected by the U.S. Copyright Laws and as citizens of this country, we have to abide by them. 

To protect the owners of these materials, the United States have set rules or laws called the Copyright Laws. This guide identifies these laws and provides explanations on what we can do to respond to the requirements of the laws. Much of the information here will be borrowed from other educational institutions who are actively implementing these laws; some of these institutions are listed in the frame to your right.

The resources available in the library's collection were purchased for the nonprofit educational use of students and faculty. All library materials were acquired with the understanding that there will be multiple users of a limited number of purchased copies. Any act that could produce  unlimited copies or duplicates of the resources within the collection should observe copyright or get a  Copyright  Clearance.



Are you familiar with these?

Here are some terms to help us understand our Copyright laws: 

    • Fair Use-is a copyright principle that holds to the belief that everyone is entitled to the free use of portions of copyrighted materials so that they could freely comment upon the said material. This is often used as a defense against copyright infrigement. This is also one reason why hundreds of copyright lawsuits exist in the country. 
    • Public Domain - consists of creative works in written form, music, digital work, art and any artistic or technological production of any kind that is free to use without asking permission of the owner or without the need to worrry about copyright infringement.  Most works under Public Domain are works from 50 years ago, which means they were produced half a century ago and their original copyright have not been renewed.
    • Common knowledge - are information that are widely known and does not need copyright permission nor it does not need to be cited on a class or research paper. Example; the " Sun sets toward the West" 
    • Creative Commons - consists of creative works that have been licensed through an organization called Creative Commons. It allows people to share their work with fellow individuals who may use or build upon their original works. If you want to give people the right to share, use, and even build upon a work you’ve created, you should consider publishing it under a Creative Commons license. For more about this easy licensing process go to :        






The Fair Use Act of the United States Copyright of 1976 is the basis for the rules and policies of LBCC Library .

copyright credits

We appreciate those who have given their feedback. Many thanks to Mr. Fred Poling for his suggestions.

Copyright knowhow

These are reminders to save you time and energy with your copyright works:

  • U.S. Copyright printable forms may be downloaded here:
  • Easy to understand step by step instructions on How to get something copyrighted from