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Copyright and Fair Use

Information on copyright and fair use exemptions.


The most authoritative source for copyright information is the U. S. Copyright Office. Stanford University maintains an excellent resource on copyright and fair use at their Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Center page.

The University of Tampa policies on intellectual property can be found in the Faculty Handbook, chapter 6, section 10. The pertinent passages may also be found in the tab of this guide titled Copyright (for Faculty).

More copyright resources and tutorials can be found below.

*The contents in this guide are suggested guidelines and do not serve as legal advice.*

Copyright & Fair Use

Complete this four-factor checklist to support your accepted use of content. Fair use isn't black and white, but more of a leaning based on the four-factor evaluation. Retain a copy and it could provide some legal protections.

For your research

Copyright Resources and Tutorials

And for a much more animated explanation of copyright, check out the Copyright Exposed animated videos from the "Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright" series by the Library of Congress. (Uses Adobe Flash.)

The video "Copyright Basics" from the Copyright Clearance Center provides a great overview of copyright and related issues.

Digital Copyright Slider: Is it Protected by Copyright? - Use this tool to determine if a work is protected by copyright or is in the public domain. (ALA Office for Information Technology Policy)

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalities for Violation of Federal Copyright Law

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement. Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees.For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. For more information, please see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office at

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