How Can the Library Help?

Auburn University Libraries can help answer questions about copyright.  If you are unsure about how to proceed with your specific situation, contact the library or your subject specialist librarian.  They will be glad to help find an answer to your question.

You can email the reference desk about copyright questions here or go to their web page for additional methods of contact.  They will be glad to help you out.

Auburn University Libraries have a budget for purchasing materials requested by instructors.  Instructors can request that their subject specialist librarian purchase supplementary texts for their courses.  This does not apply to required textbooks.  These texts will become part of the library’s online collection.  This would allow these texts to be used by students in class.  In recent years the library has made an effort to prioritize the purchase of eBooks that can be used by students both on and off campus.  Just let your subject specialist librarian know that a whole class will be using the book so they can get a book with an unlimited license. 

Content Resources


  • Google Advanced Search:  Before searching, change the usage rights to free to use or share.
  • Flickr: The Commons: A searchable database of images with "no known copyright restrictions".  Also searchable by "commercial use allowed" and "modifications allowed".

Multiple Formats

Copyright Resources

Copyright Basics

  • Copyright Law: The full text of the US copyright laws from the US Copyright Office.
  • Copyright Advisory Network: This site from the American Library Association contains additional explanation of copyright policies and several tools to help you make appropriate copyright decisions.
  • Copyright Services: This site from University of Minnesota contains additional information about copyright and how to make appropriate copyright decisions.

Public Domain

Fair Use

Online and Distance Learning (TEACH Act)


Creative Commons

Making Copyright Use Decisions

  • Copyright Decision Tree: Helps you make decisions about using copyrighted materials.
  • A Map of Use Issues: A tool from the University of Minnesota that helps you decide if you can use copyrighted materials.
  • Using Materials in the ClassroomAn interactive tool from the University of North Carolina: Greensboro that helps you decide if you can use copyrighted materials.

Creating Copyrighted Works