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Copyright and Fair Use

Adapted from Texas A&M University Central Texas libuguide.


This guide is not intended to be legal advice. It is designed to provide general information about copyright to consider while researching and teaching in the health care field. 

Please contact the UT Health San Antonio Legal Affairs Office for more information about legal services. 

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code) to authors. The owner of copyright has the exclusive right to do and authorize the following:

  • To reproduce the work
  • To prepare derivative works based upon the work
  • To distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or transfer or ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
  • To protect other persons from using work without permission
  • To perform the work publicly

Copyright protection covers both published and unpublished works as well as out-of-print materials.

Facts, ideas, procedures, processes, systems, concepts, principles, or discoveries cannot be copyrighted. However, some of these can be protected by patent or trade secret laws.

Copyright protection currently lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. If the work has more than one author, the copyright protection lasts for the life of the last author plus 70 years.

Copyright Basics Tutorial

Copyright Basics

What is expected of me?

UT Health San Antonio expects all members of its community to comply with U.S. copyright laws and refers to all users of its technological and information resources to the description of copyright law included in the Use of Copyrighted Materials in the UTHSC Handbook of Operating Procedures, Chapter 2.3.2. The UT System Policy Library has addition information on the UTS 107 Use Of Copyrighted Materials.


At the UT Health Library, librarians get a lot of questions about copyright. Although the ultimate authority for questions about copyright at the University is the Office of Legal Affairs, here is some basic information that is important for all students and faculty to understand so you can get your work done without copyright problems.