Copyright, Fair Use & Privacy
for University Outreach and Extension Web Developers
When building a website, developers must be sensitive to federal copyright law, which protects ownership rights of original, creative works. U.S. copyright laws protect literary works, musical or sound recordings, and pictorial or graphical designs. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, signed into law Oct. 28, 1998, the same copyright protections apply to on-line computer software, music, movies and written works.
Copyright is fixed at the time a work is created. Registering a copyright is not required for protection, and the owner is not required to display the copyright symbol, ©.
Copyright law protects the owner from infringement of his/her work. Infringement is the violation any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner. These rights include to right to reproduce, distribute, modify, perform and prepare derivative versions of the work. Willful acts of infringement are punishable by statutory damages, and in some instances, may be the basis for criminal prosecution.
Guidance for UO/E web developers:
- Request permission to use any printed or electronic graphics, photographs, cartoons, musical works, text, etc. The lack of a copyright statement does not preclude protection.
- Educational use is not a protection against copyright infringement.
- Web developers should contact the owners of external sites before providing links to another web page or site. The owner of the site may have restrictions on linking from another site.
- Information on copyright ownership of works created by University of Missouri employees is available at Section 100.0030 of University's Collected Rules and Regulations. Works owned by the University should have a copyright notice that reads:
© 1999, The Curators of the University of Missouri
- Permission to use materials, in most cases, can be obtained online. See the U.S. Copyright Office site for a list of Internet resources.
For more information on copyright law and electronic usage, see the sites below:
Rights of Privacy
Right of privacy laws give an individual the right to control the commercial use of their image. A photo release form should be used to obtain permission to use an individual's image in publications, including web documents and videos. If the subjects are minors, parents or legal guardians must sign the release form. The following release forms may be used when taking photos or when videotaping:
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