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About Copyright

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors of “original works of authorship.” This includes, literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works as well as computer software. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. The Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to conduct and authorize various acts, including reproduction, public performance and making derivative works. Copyright protection is automatically secured when a work is fixed into a tangible medium such as a book software code, video, etc. In some instances, the University registers copyrights, but generally not until a commercial product is ready for manufacture.

For additional information about copyright, see more helpful resources below.

Policy Clarification on Course Materials

In 2013, John Etchemendy released a policy clarification memo to the University community about online instruction and course materials. This memo contains helpful information, including an extensive FAQ, on what you need to know when developing course materials as an instructor at Stanford and distributing them online.

Sample Copyright Notice

Although copyrightable works do not require a copyright notice, we do recommend that you use one. It is also useful to identify a local contact that individuals can contact if they would like to make use of the materials. For works owned by the University, use the following notice:

For more information about the University copyright policy, view the research policy handbook's copyright section.

Copyright Resource Guide

General Copyright Resources

Stanford University Libraries (SUL)

United States Copyright Office

Resources for Selecting Open Source Licenses: