PYR101 Episode 9

The Basics of Copyright and Fair Use


"The programme is highly educative and it brushes away my fear of sending my articles to scholarly journals."

Mohammed Falalu Hamza, Graduate Student
University of KwaZulu-Natal

Publishing Your Research 101

Episode 9 – The Basics of Copyright and Fair Use

About the Episode

This episode looks at some of the issues around copyright and fair use of information. Most scientists encounter these issues at three points: when they are submitting a manuscript for publication, when they want to use items from their published articles in other publications, presentations, or in teaching, and when they want to use items published by other scientists in their own publications, presentations, or in teaching. Beyond that, as citizens in a digital world, we run into some of the same questions when using any content, scientific or not, on the Web. The first part of this episode looks at what copyright is, what happens when you transfer copyright to a publisher, and what rights you as an author retain when you transfer copyright. The second part discusses fair use, which are exceptions to copyright when certain conditions apply.

It should be noted that while this discussion includes general comments about copyright, there are also some considerations that are specific to the American Chemical Society. When working with other publishers, scientists should be aware of the terms and conditions of each individual publisher. These are usually posted on the web site of the publication.

One important point to remember is that copyright applies even if material does not include a copyright notice. Therefore, in the absence of a specific statement about rights and permissions, you should contact the publisher or web site contact before re-using material.

Related Resources

From ACS Publications

On the Web

About The Author

Eric S. Slater

Senior Manager of Copyright, Permissions, & Licensing at the American Chemical Society

Eric S. Slater, Esq. is Senior Manager of Copyright, Permissions, & Licensing at the American Chemical Society in Washington, DC. Eric received his JD from New York Law School, and holds a Master of Journalism from Louisiana State University and a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University. While at New York Law School, Eric was Editor-in-Chief of Media Law & Policy, and published an article on Internet broadcasting. Prior to joining the American Chemical Society in 2000, Eric worked in radio for approximately 20 years. He held a variety of positions including General Manager of a public/NPR station, as well as Program Director, on-air personality and sportscaster at stations in New Jersey, Louisiana, and Virginia. He has taught college courses in mass communications and copyright law, and is currently a faculty member in the Master of Professional Studies in Publishing program at George Washington University. Eric was the 2010 recipient of the Teaching Excellence Award at George Washington University. He is a frequent speaker on copyright topics.