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Copyright & Intellectual Property

Services, policies and information about copyright at CSUN University Library

Library policy overview

University Library Web Content

Where not otherwise indicated, the content displayed on the Library websites (including the Library Homepage, and Digital Library) are copyrighted by California State University, Northridge.

Users of these sites may copy content from its pages (excluding any material for which California State University, Northridge does not hold copyright) without permission for educational, personal, or non-commercial purposes. The California State University Northridge, University Library must be acknowledged in the copy.

Any public domain material embedded in this site may, of course, be used without permission.

We welcome links to our site. You are free to establish a hypertext link to any University Library web page as long as the link does not state or imply any sponsorship of your site by California State University, Northridge or the University Library.

University Copyright Policy

The Office of the President has issued a Copyright Policy document to remind individual users of their responsibility to comply with copyright law: California State University, Northridge Policy on Copyrighted Material (PDF)

Notice to Copyright Holders

The University Library has made every effort to secure permission to use the work of others on this site. Any use of materials created by other individuals or institutions on this site is the result of explicit permission having been given by the copyright holder, or a good faith belief (following investigation) that the work is in the public domain, or a determination that incorporation of the work constitutes "Fair Use" for purposes of research and scholarship under U.S. copyright law (U.S. Code, Title 17 §107). If you are a copyright claimant with regard to any work used on this site, and you object to our use of it, please contact the Library Webmaster.

Permission to Use Library Materials

To request permission to publish materials held in the library collections, please contact the Library Webmaster.

University Library Copyright Team

For questions regarding copyright and policies related to the areas of: Course Reserves, Music, Video streaming, Digital Rights Management (DRM), Digital Publishing, Open Access, Fair Use, TEACH Act, and so on, please feel free to contact the members of the Library Copyright Team.

For more information see Library ©-Team: Navigating Copyright for Digital Media and Online Education poster (PDF); see also archived version of poster in ScholarWorks

The Copyright team is:

Electronic Resources Copyright Policies

Responsible Use of Electronic Resources

Through the Library, California State University, Northridge subscribes to the services of a variety of vendors and publishers to provide users with electronic resources (databases, abstracts, e-journals, full text, etc.). Copyright law and contractual license agreements govern the access, use, and reproduction of these resources.

The Library negotiates license agreements that stipulate how and by whom they may be used. If license terms are violated by anyone, licensors usually have the right to temporarily suspend access for the entire University community! In some cases, licenses can be permanently revoked.

You can help prevent problems with our electronic resource providers by adhering to "good practice" and avoiding improper use. Here are some good rules of thumb:



making limited print or electronic copies
(such as single articles)

systematic or substantial printing, copying or downloading
(such as entire journal issues or books)

using for personal, instructional or research needs

selling or re-distributing content, or providing it to an employer

sharing with CSUN faculty, staff and students

sharing with people other than CSUN faculty, staff and students

posting links to specific content

posting actual content or articles to web sites or listservs


modifying, altering, or creating derivative works

Always acknowledge your source on any published or unpublished document when you use data found on electronic resources.

Terms of Use - Definitions

  • Scholarly sharing: This means peer-to-peer informal sharing for research, teaching and educational purposes.  For example, if you are working with a colleague at another institution, and wish to make him/her aware of an article of mutual interest, you may send that article in print or electronically if this use is "permitted" under the Terms of Use. Some publishers do not permit sharing with non-CSUN users.
  • Course Reserves: Most electronic resources may be used for print or electronic reserves. If "Course Reserves permitted" is indicated, then copyright clearance has already been granted. Access, both print and electronic, need to be secure, and not made available on the open web.
  • Course Packs: Some electronic resources allow for limited portions, such as a single article from a journal, to be reproduced in a course pack. If "Course packs permitted" is indicated, then copyright clearance has already been granted for this use. Course packs must be provided on a cost-recovery basis only, and not sold for profit. If "Course packs not permitted" is indicated, then the material needs to have copyright cleared with the publisher before proceeding with inclusion in a course pack.

NOTE: Under the provision of "Fair Use," users are permitted to download, temporarily store, and print portions of the materials. Users are prohibited from downloading significant portions of the materials, posting copyrighted materials on a publicly accessible website, or using the licensed information for commercial purposes. Downloading entire issues of electronic journals, several sequential chapters in online books, or attempting to create large databases from bibliographic files, is generally prohibited by license agreements. Each licensed product may have more specific or additional permissions or prohibitions. For more information on Fair Use, see U.S. Code Title 17, §107.

In addition, sharing your CSUN User ID and password for the purposes of granting access to unauthorized users -- including family, friends, or co-workers -- may result in suspension or revocation of library privileges.

Library Course Reserves Policy

Course Reserve Items

Professors may place the following items on reserve at the Library:

  • Library-owned books (print reserve only)
  • Photocopies or other reproductions which fall under the doctrine of fair use or for which the professor has obtained copyright permission (e-reserve or print reserve)
  • Professors' personal copies of books (print reserve only)

The following material is not permitted on reserve:

  • Photocopies from ‘consumable’ works, i.e. workbooks or standardized tests
  • Items which fail to fall under the fair use guidelines and for which the professor has not obtained copyright permission.

Other guidelines

  • Only two copies of any book or reproduced item may be placed on reserve; this is due to limited shelf space
  • The full bibliographic citation for any articles reproduced must appear on the first page of the article

Copyright Notice for Course Reserves

The following safeguards are in effect to ensure that the California State University, Northridge, University Library Course Reserve Services is in compliance with the United States Copyright Law (U.S.C. 17).

  1. Only materials currently in use by teachers and students in a class at the University are made available electronically.
  2. Access to electronic reserves is granted only after two levels of authentication. The first verifies that the user is a currently enrolled CSUN student. The second verifies that they are enrolled in the class in which the electronic reserves are available.
  3. Students are shown the following statement before access is granted:

    Pursuant to the federal Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code), it is preemptively unlawful to reproduce, distribute, or publicly display any copyrighted work (or any substantial portion thereof) without the permission of the copyright owner. The statute, however, recognizes a fair use defense that has the effect of excusing an act of copyright infringement. It is the intention of the Library to act within the parameters of the fair use defense in allowing limited posting of copyrighted materials in Electronic Course Reserve areas such as this one. It is the intention of the Library, moreover, that such materials be made available solely for the purposes of private study, scholarship, and research, and that any further reproduction of such materials by students, by printing or downloading, be limited to such purposes. Any further reproduction of copyrighted materials made from this computer system may be in violation of copyright laws and is prohibited.

  4. Access to electronic reserve materials is limited to the one semester the course is being taught. Once the course has ended, materials are deleted from the Library system.

Music And Media Copyright Policy

Copyright for Multimedia: Films, Videos and Sound Recordings

Showing Films in the Classroom

Instructors and pupils are able to show films in the classroom without obtaining “Public Performance Rights” according to U.S. Copyright Code (Chapter 17, Section 110.1).  This is called the “face-to-face teaching exemption” and applies to non-profit educational institutions, such as CSUN.  Films can be shown in their entirety or clips may be shown from one or several sources.   

The film needs to be legally acquired (not copied) and can be personally owed, borrowed or obtained from a library or rental source.  Instructors should not be intimidated by statements on a purchased film’s packaging or at the beginning of the film itself that the film is “for home use only.”  These notices have no legal effect, and do not override Section 110.1.  (

Showing Films at Public Events

On the other hand, if a film is shown outside of a class setting, such as conferences or festival where the public is invited, it may be necessary to purchase “Public Performance Rights” from the distributer, even if there is not an admission price.  Short term licenses are often available at lower rates.  Contact the film’s distributor for terms.

ScholarWorks Copyright Policies

ScholarWorks Open Access Repository (SOAR) copyright policies

To access ScholarWorks itself, go here:

You can access a full version of the repository policies on our CSUN ScholarWorks Guide  or The ScholarWorks Open Access Repository (SOAR) policy document (PDF).

SOAR Policy Statement

It is the University Library’s intent to establish a comprehensive database of CSUN research that includes full-text openly accessible materials with attendant bibliographic records.  Two policies shape this intention.

First CSUN’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations policy mandates that all students submit the following to the repository: The electronic version of theses accepted for research degrees after May 2012 will be deposited in the repository on behalf of the students.

Second, CSUN’s open access resolution strongly encourages CSUN Faculty members to:

  1. Publish in peer-reviewed journals that allow open access archiving or peer-reviewed journals that are open-access
  2. Submit journal articles to ScholarWorks Open Access Repository (SOAR) as soon as possible after acceptance for publication
  3. Grant CSUN a non-exclusive license to archive selected previously published journal articles in SOAR
  4. Grant CSUN the right to migrate selected faculty publications to updated media or formats for digital preservation purposes.


In certain circumstances original as well as pre-print and post-print works must be excluded from public view. Examples include:

  • Material restricted by copyright or other US legislation from being made available in a repository.
  • Material restricted by publisher or funder agreements or other licensing conditions.
  • Research that contains commercially sensitive or confidential material or intellectual property requiring protection.
  • Unpublished material containing non-copyright cleared third-party content, especially material that does not clear a reasonable and judicious Fair Use analysis.

A takedown procedure to minimize risk from copyright infringement or other complaint regarding content will be operated.

Notice and takedown procedures

A notice and takedown procedure will apply if proof of copyright infringement or complaint for other reasons such as data protection or alleged research misconduct is received.

  1. Complaints will be acknowledged and investigated.
  2. Valid complaints will be referred to appropriate authorities within CSUN and the University Library.
  3. The item will be temporarily removed if the complaint is deemed to be valid, pending an agreed solution. The item will be removed in all cases where reasonable doubt exists.
  4. The depositor and/or owner of the content will be contacted to notify of the complaint.
  5. Each case will be analyzed and judged individually, encouraging amicable resolution between the concerned parties.
  6. Both complainant and depositor will be informed of the outcome of the investigation and the actions to be taken, which may include the following:
    1. Content remains in the repository unchanged.
    2. Content is amended in consultation with the author with infringing materials removed; an edited version will be returned to the repository and its new version indicated in the bibliographic record.
    3. Content remains unchanged, but access is altered to restrict unauthorized availability; a metadata record may be kept for public access or a tombstone indicating withdrawal may be provided.
    4. Content is permanently removed from the repository and its metadata record deleted.

Access and Reuse of repository metadata and content

Items deposited in the repository will be made openly accessible via the Internet immediately unless subject to an embargo period.  Content is intended for free, permanent open access.

Two policies exist for metadata and for data:

A) Metadata reuse policy

  • Metadata may be accessed free of charge
  • Metadata may be reused in any medium without prior permission for not-for-profit purposes provided that the unique identifier or links to the original metadata records are given.
  • Metadata may not be reused in any medium for commercial purposes without the formal written permission of both SOAR repository staff and the copyright owners of the original materials requested.

B) Content and data reuse policy

  • Full-text items in all externally accessible areas of the repository may be access free of charge.
  • Some material is restricted to internal use and will be available for access by CSUN or University Library staff only.
  • Embargoed items are withheld from view due to legal requirements or to comply with publisher, funder, or CSUN policies. Unless the term is extended, materials are released upon the fulfillment of the embargo term.
  • Copies of open access items can be reproduced, displayed or performed; they can be given to third parties in any format or medium for personal research or study, educational and/or not-for-profit purposes, without prior permission or charge. This is subject to the following restrictions:
    • Authors, titles and full bibliographic details (i.e. moral rights to attribution, credit, etc.) are given
    • A hyperlink, URL, or URI is provided for the original metadata page
    • The original rights permission statement or creative commons license is displayed. (i.e. Copyright 2012 John Smith, Creative Commons )
  • As with metadata, full-text open access items may not be sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.
  • Some full-text open access items may still be subject to specific copyright restrictions or permissions and conditions, such as creative commons or other alternative licensing that must be obeyed on an item-by-item basis.

-- Andrew Weiss | Updated January 2021

Special Collections & Archives Copyright Policies

University Library Special Collections and Archives:

Special Collections and Archives materials are available for use in the Special Collections Reading Room, and are not circulated outside that room except for exhibitions in the Library or at other institutions. Special Collections and Archives staff retrieves all collection materials from its stacks and other storage spaces for researchers to use in the reading room. To prepare for your visit, please review our Reading Room Guidelines. Copyright policies for Special Collections and Archives are dependent upon several factors, including the publication status of the work, its age, and special agreements with donors. For more information and inquiries contact SCA here:

Digital Collections Copyright and Use policies:

The University Library Digital Collections are selected from archival and heritage collections under contexts defined by digital collections organizers. These do not necessarily represent nor do they replace the entire contents and contexts embodied within the corpus of collections from which they are derived. Because of this, researchers are strongly encouraged to extend their inquiries into the collections of the University Library Special Collections and Archives as well as those held by participating institutions as indicated within the information attached to these digital objects. Information regarding the repository, source collection, and finding aid are provided for this purpose.


The items in our Digital Collections are made available for educational purposes. Commercial use of works that are not in the public domain is strictly prohibited by law without prior written consent from the copyright holder(s). The responsibility for the use of these materials rests exclusively with the user.

We look forward to learning more about our digital holdings, and to hearing from any copyright owners who may not be properly identified.

-- Stephen Kutay, Digital Services Librarian  | Updated 2/17/2015

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