Copyright at Princeton

Three books on a table with bookshelves in background

Introduction to Copyright

Copyright is the legal framework for ownership of written works, paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, recorded music, sheet music, computer programs, video games, architectural design, choreography, etc. Whether you are a creator or a user of copyrighted materials, it is important to understand the key legal concepts of copyright. “Copyright” is one name for a bundle of rights: the right to make copies, distribute copies, make derivative works (such as a translation or adaptation), and the public performance and/or public display of works.

The University’s policies concerning copyright and intellectual property are intended to further its central mission—the sustained production, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge—while responsibly administering Princeton’s resources. The University – through its faculty, students and staff – may be both a creator and a user of protected intellectual property. The University seeks to support the responsible exchange of intellectual property and to that end, works to raise awareness about issues of copyright, educating members of the community about principles of fair use, and providing resources to advance teaching and research.

Learn about the Copyright Basics >

Proper Attribution

As in any form of academic publishing, attribution is essential. Whether or not the materials are still under copyright, the sources for all third party materials should be appropriately credited. Proper attribution contains:

  • Maker name, dates
  • Title of work, date
  • Medium of work
  • Credit line of holding institution
  • Copyright statement/photo credit if applicable

Material found on the web must be used in a manner consistent with any applicable restrictions, including specific phrasing for attribution.

Front image of University copyright pamphlet

What you need to know
(PDF brochure)