For Researchers

Copyright and Scholarship

The process of research and the creation of scholarship often involve building upon the intellectual property and works of others. Luther expects all community members involved in the creation of academic or scholarly work to adhere to all appropriate copyright laws and ethical standards for reusing the works of others. For creative works, this includes ensuring that reuse of material falls under fair use guidelines, and that all borrowed material is cited appropriately. Please bear in mind the following items:

  • Works do not have to display a copyright notice in order to be copyrighted. All works created (published and unpublished) after March 1, 1989 are protected by default and many earlier works also enjoy protection no matter their published status. Determine if it is still covered by copyright.
  • Copying materials for personal research purposes is subject to copyright law but may fall under fair use.
  • Reuse of audio or video material in multimedia scholarship is covered under copyright law and is subject to fair use.
  • In cases where additional rights beyond fair use are required, users should contact the copyright holders for permissions. In many cases permissions may be granted at little or no cost for educational projects.

Creator Rights

When you create a work of scholarship or creative work you automatically have copyrights to that work, even before publication. You should be aware that in the course of publication, many publishers will ask you to transfer copyright of your work, which can limit your future use and sharing of the material. Many publishers are willing to amend their publishing agreements, if you ask. Read up on the SPARC Author Addendum, which allows you to keep essential copyrights in your work.

The Luther Copyright Policy specifically protects the intellectual property rights of its community members except in cases of rights specified by contract, commissioned works, or administrative works.

The Visual Artists Rights Act protects the integrity and attribution of visual arts and artists even when the artists no longer owns the art piece or copyright. 

Alternative Publishing Models

If you are concerned about trends in the system of scholarly publishing, including publisher consolidation and exponentially rising subscription costs, you may be interested in learning about alternative publishing systems and processes, including open access and creative commons licenses.