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UNLV Copyright Information

Using somebody else's work without permission is just not right. Whether it is copying a chapter or two from a book, pirating a video copy of a new movie, or using photographs from the Internet, the copyright of the owner of that material must be protected. Likewise, your work, whether it is a photograph, a monograph, or a pictograph, is protected under the law. Just as you cannot use copyrighted material without permission, somebody else cannot use your material without permission. This web site is dedicated to helping you through the maze and thicket of United States copyright laws. At the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, however, the bottom line is this: You are wholly responsible for violations of copyright law. The university is in no way liable, even for employee actions.

Creation of Copyrighted Materials

Copyright basics

Anything that is fixed in a tangible medium is copyrighted (i.e., anything that is in written form, or that can be performed, videotaped, put on the Internet, photographed, drawn, etc.) Examples of "Copyrightable Works" include, but are not limited to:

  • works of literature
  • music
  • drama
  • pantomime
  • choreography
  • sculpture
  • audiovisual
  • computer data bases and software

Another way of looking at it is that patents protect ideas, but copyrights protect the expression of ideas. Generally speaking, a copyright prevents someone else from copying your work.

Copyright protection begins, automatically, the moment the work is created. Even though notices are no longer required by law, it is a good idea to place a notice (year, author/owner) on the work to give notice to potential infringers. Otherwise infringement may take place with the claim that it was assumed no copyright was in effect (since there was no notice).

Copyrights do not need to be registered, but if the potential value of the copyright is such that legal action against infringements is likely, a registered copyright (with the U.S. Copyright Office) will allow recovery of statutory damages of up to $20,000 for nonwillful infringement and up to $100,000 for willful infringement. Registration is simply a matter of filling out a disclosure form and sending it (along with a small fee payment) to the U.S. Copyright Office.

A copyright allows the owner to control the replication and use of the work. For copyrights owned by the author/creator, the copyright lasts for his or her life, plus 70 years. For works for hire, anonymous, or pseudonymous works, the life of a copyright is 95 years from the year of publication or 120 years from the year of creation, whichever expires earlier.

For a detailed discussion, visit this site: Copyright Basics (Copyright Office, Library of Congress)

Use of Copyrighted Materials


  • Reserves
  • Nonbook Resources
  • Interlibrary Loan and Faculty Copy Service
  • Special Collections
  • Photocopying Using Libraryís Self-Serve Copiers
  • Resources Available through Neonweb

Distance Education

  • Printed Materials and Nonbook Resources

Printed Materials

  • Guidelines for Classroom Copying Unrestricted Copying

Non-printed Materials (Video, Audio, Multimedia, Software)

  • Copying For Which Permission Is Required
  • Guidelines for Classroom Use
  • Educational Multimedia
  • Audio Visual Works
  • Performances
  • Dramatic Works
  • Non Dramatic Works
  • Films or Videotapes
  • Television Programs: Copying Television Programs Off the Air for Classroom Use
  • Music


  • Responsibilities for Software Management
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