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Course & Subject Guides

Copyright Basics

This guide will give you an overview of copyright in the United States. It will not supply legal advice nor is it intended to replace the advice of the Office of University Counsel.

Pitt Office of University Counsel

The University of Pittsburgh's Office of University Counsel (OGC) provides legal services to the university. OUC attorneys are responsible for preparation and review of university contracts and agreements, representing the university in legal proceedings, and providing legal advice to the university.

The University of Pittsburgh Policy on Legal Services (No. 01-05-01) sets forth the circumstances under which Pitt faculty and staff should consult with OGC for legal advice.

Pitt Policies


Here you can find links to University of Pittsburgh-wide policies and procedures on the use of copyrighted materials, as well as information about the rights of copyright owners*.



For help with these policies, contact the ULS Office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing or the University of Pittsburgh Office of General Counsel as well as the Innovation Institute

Scope: This policy establishes the rights and responsibilities of the University and of faculty, staff, and students regarding the creation and dissemination of original works of authorship, copyright interest, and distribution of royalties as well as establishes the rights and responsibilities of all faculty, staff, and students who discover or invent a device, product, or method, while associated with the University, whether or not University time or facilities are used. This policy also applies to all pending invention disclosures and/or patent applications and/or patents not yet licensed or transferred.

Note: This policy was implemented on April 5, 2021. It is not retroactive. Any material created by Pitt faculty, staff, and students prior to April 5, 2021, is subject to the old policy. Questions about prior material and the previous policy may be directed to the Innovation Institute.

Scope: This policy affirms the guidelines for making reproductions of copyrighted material, adopted by the University of Pittsburgh in compliance with the Copyright Act, Title 17 U.S. Code. This covers library reserve use, photocopying, interlibrary loan, and classroom use. The policy also explains about prohibited uses of copyrighted materials under certain circumstances.

To define the criteria for making copies of copyrighted material without written permission of the copyright owner, and to outline the necessary steps for requesting permission when it is required.

Scope: This policy establishes restrictions regarding the access and use of University owned and maintained computers, computer systems, computer networks, electronic communications facilities, and other related computing facilities used to store and process data, text, and software used by the University.

Scope: This policy establishes the University of Pittsburgh's right to control the use of the University name, logos, trademarks, and service marks; the nature and quality of goods or services with which they are associated; and, in order to achieve uniformity of presentation of the marks, the artistic form in which the marks are reproduced. It applies to identity marks (whether registered or not), adopted or used by the University as word marks, such as "UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH," "PITT," and "PITT PANTHERS," and others containing graphic components in addition to the words, such as the University seal, a representation of a football helmet or a representation of a panther. It also applies to the oversight of the quality of goods or services with which they are associated.

A successful Web site provides visitors with an intuitive, engaging, and enjoyable user experience — which requires an informed and thoughtful presentation of content. Web publishers must understand their audience and how visitors interact with online content in different ways.

Embracing the standards and best practices outlined here will help your online communications shine. Following standards and best practices will help you meet and maintain accessibility requirements and avoid common missteps that lead to a poor user experience.

These guidelines outline the Pitt community's rights and responsibilities toward scientific data generated by research at Pitt and provide direction on the management, recording, retention, and ownership of data at Pitt.

*The following Policies previously linked from this page were decommissioned effective April 5, 2021: (1) RI 03 (formerly 11-02-02), Copyrights; (2) RI 05 (formerly 11-02-01), Patent Rights and Technology Transfer.