Copyright Resources for Librarians

Jun 28, 2016

by Karen Kitchens
Wyoming State Library State Publications Librarian

As librarians, we deal with communication technologies in a wide variety of formats, from books to movies and music to the internet. Questions regarding copyright law frequently arise. Giving patrons accurate copyright information can be daunting, as copyright law can be rather confusing and convoluted.

Fortunately there are numerous resources available to guide our copyright questions. Remember, the resources listed here are meant as guidelines and do not replace legal advice. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me at the Wyoming State Library at or (307) 777-7281.

Useful Sites and Tools:

ALA Copyright Advisory Network
The Copyright Advisory Network (CAN) exists to help librarians understand copyright law and appreciate the important role that we can play in serving the public “to advance the progress of science and the useful arts.”  Post your copyright question to the forum to receive advice from librarians that participate in or are a member of the OITP Copyright Education Committee of ALA.

Copyright Genie
Copyright Genie helps to discover if a work is covered by U.S. copyright. The Genie calculates the terms of copyright protection and can publish the results as a PDF. This can be useful for record keeping purposes.

Fair Use Evaluator
The Fair Use Evaluator helps to discover if the use of copyrighted material falls under the fair use doctrine.  The Evaluator helps collect, organize, and archive the information that you may need to support a fair use evaluation. It also publishes a PDF document for record keeping purposes. Additionally, this site provides access to copyright educational materials, other copyright resources, and contact information for copyright help at local and national levels.

Columbia University Fair Use Checklist
The Fair Use Checklist can be used to help librarians determine whether their activities are within the limits of fair use under U.S. copyright law.

Exceptions for Instructors eTool
This tool is intended as a source of information for educators and others to better understand the educational exemptions available in the U.S. Copyright Code. This tool can also help you collect information detailing your educational use and provide you with a summary in PDF format.

Public Domain Slider
The Public Domain Slider is a tool to help determine the copyright status of a work that is first published in the United States.

U.S. Copyright Office
The U.S. Copyright Office is part of the Library of Congress.  It is the official U.S. government body that maintains records of copyright registration in the United States.  This website has some of the most up-to-date information on copyright law.

Print Resources Available at the Wyoming State Library:

Additional Online Copyright Resources:


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