Copyright Tutorial


Doctoral candidates are required to provide proof that they have completed the university’s Copyright Tutorial.

The tutorial may be completed anytime before the dissertation is submitted, but students are advised to undertake it early in candidacy, as it is designed to educate the student on frequently confusing and changing copyright laws.

The tutorial site includes a test that provides a certification of completion via email after it has been passed. A copy of this certification must be submitted by the time the dissertation is submitted or the dissertation may not be accepted and the student’s graduation may be delayed or denied.

Copyright Crash Course


Take a crash course in copyright law.

Fair Use Guidelines


Fair use permits educators to make certain uses of others’ works for nonprofit educational purposes.



Tutorial Assistance

A number of students struggle with the final question of the Copyright Tutorial. Here’s a guide:  

Q: Which, if any, of the following works is in the public domain?

a.  A book published with notice in 1923

No. A book published with notice in 1923 was given 28 years copyright protection, which could be renewed for 67 years. A possible total of 95 years past the publication date means this book might be protected until 2018. The question does not tell you whether copyright was renewed. With the information you have been given, you cannot say that this work is in the public domain. See When Works Pass Into the Public Domain.

b.  A book published in 1917

Yes. A book published before 1923 is in the public domain. See When Works Pass Into the Public Domain.

c.  Digital images of the earth created in 1993 by NASA

Yes. NASA is a U.S. government agency. Copyright does not protect works by the U.S. government. See Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials.

d.  An unpublished photograph created in 1890

No. A work created before Jan. 1, 1978, and not published cannot pass into public domain until 70 years after the death of the creator. Since you are not given the date of the creator’s death, you cannot know that this photograph is in the public domain. See When Works Pass Into the Public Domain.

e.  A movie published in 1935 for which copyright was not renewed

Yes. Even if the movie was published with copyright notice, it would only have been given protection for 28 years unless renewed. So it would have passed into public domain in 1963. See When Works Pass Into the Public Domain.