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ECU faculty, staff, and students have a responsibility to use materials in compliance with US Copyright law. Copyright law might seem vague. This is because the law is written broadly and refined by court cases, so there might only be general principles to follow rather than a definitive “right or wrong” answer.

With the easy ability to photocopy, scan, duplicate, rip, and save materials, it often seems that since something can be copied without asking permission that doing so must be okay. This simply is not the case. Some people might also think that they can use materials they find on the Web in any fashion they choose, but just because something is viewable online does not mean that it is free to use in any way you want.

It is important to understand the basics of copyright and how to obtain permission to use other people's works - just as you might want your works to be protected. ECU's Copyright Officer is available for personal consultation and to make presentations to classes, departments, and groups.

ECU's Copyright Officer
Joseph Thomas
1304 Joyner Library
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858
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  • Guidance on what constitutes fair use for classroom and publishing
  • Assistance obtaining copyright permissions
  • Consultation with students completing a thesis or dissertation
  • Help understanding and negotiating publishing agreements
  • Determination of ECU or personal ownership of work
  • Presentations to classes, departments, & student groups
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Author's Rights

As an author, composer, or creator of media, you need to understand your copyright and retain desired rights to your works when possible. Publishing agreements often ask you to transfer your copyright to the publisher and limit your future use of the work. You can often negotiate alternate terms.

As a matter of employment or enrollment, ECU has ownership or persistent license to use certain works that you might produce. Works to be commercialized must be vetted by the Copyright Officer.

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What is ECU's policy?

  1. ECU released a new Copyright Regulation in 2013. This replaces the former policy from the Faculty Manual.
  2. The University of North Carolina system has a Copyright Policy.
  3. U.S. Copyright law and court cases interpreting it supersede these policies if there is a conflict.