For Students

The process of research and the creation of scholarship often involves building upon the intellectual and creative works of others. Luther College Honor Code and US Copyright law set criteria for proper citation and reuse of intellectual property in the creation of a new academic, scholarly, or creative work. It is important to consider both sets of regulations when writing, performing, creating, and displaying the products of your work at Luther and beyond.

  • Citing your sources is not a part of copyright. While academic honesty requires that you cite and attribute the work of others, copyright law is concerned with how a protected work is being used.
  • Works do not have to display a copyright notice in order to be copyrighted. The length of copyright protection is based on when a work was published and if or how it was published.
  • Fair use is your friend! Fortunately, in an educational setting, many of the ways you will be using and building upon the work of others falls under the category of fair use, which exists to allow criticism, analysis, parody, and commentary on copyrighted works. But you should not assume all uses are fair uses, especially if you plan to share your work with an audience beyond Luther, such as posting it on Facebook or uploading a video to YouTube.
  • You can ask copyright holders for permission. 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.
  • You are a copyright holder! You own the copyright in your own intellectual and creative work, including papers, presentations, musical compositions, and artwork. If you decide to publish, share, present, or display your works, consider your rights as an author, creator, or researcher. If you want your ideas to spread more freely and reach a wider audience, consider alternative publishing models and licensing options.
  • Some information sharing activity is illegal on Luther's data networks: see what and why