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Citing Sources Guide

Use Our Copyright and Public Domain Guide

Note: The Understanding Copyright tab you are vewing will be phased out on August 31, 2022. Instead, use our Copyright and Public Domain Guide at

Fair Use and Copyright

Copyright and Fair Use Terms

Copying and Sharing 
  • Fair use balances authors' rights with educational needs.
  • Fair use does not grant unrestricted use of information
  • Fair use must satisfy the  four fair use factors and typically can only be applied one time for a particular copyrighted work.
  • If fair use does not apply, then permission must be requested.
  • Downloading   
    • You may download specific for teaching, learning, and research from WMU Libraries
    •  You may not systematically download or print substantial portions of databases or online books, create derivative products, obscure or modify copyright notices, or share content with non-WMU users without permission from the copyright holder.
Posting Information Online 
  • Electronic resources available through the WMU Libraries is typically restricted to current WMU students, faculty, and staff.
  • Do not post a full-text copy on the open Web. 
  • Appropriate ways to provide access to electronic materials include
    • providing a persistent URL link to it. 
    • making access available through e-reserves
    • making access available through e-learning.

Retaining Author Rights

Retaining  Author and Creator Copyrights 

  • It is not necessary or desirable to sign away the exclusive rights to your work in exchange for publication.
  • It limits your ability to post your own work online, use it in course packs, or include it in Web-based repositories such as ScholarWorks at WMU
  • Modifications to publisher agreements and alternative licensing options can be found at the SPARC and Creative Commons sites. 
  • SHERPA/RoMEO  provides publisher policies on posting previously published articles on the Web and in open-access repositories.

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