Chalmer Davee Library

Copyright and MINDS@UW-River Falls

In the course of your writing, you will probably include materials created/written by others.  If you have quoted brief passages from other works and you are doing this to support your arguments, as long as you have cited the works properly, you do not need to seek permission from the copyright owner to use the work in your paper.  If, however, you include large portions of a work – such as including an entire poem rather than a stanza - that was written/created by someone else, you will be in violation of a person's copyright if you have not sought permission to use the material.  Other cases of misuse include: reproducing publications such as copies of survey instruments or questionnaires (that are not of your own creation), music lyrics, dialogue from plays (or screenplays, broadcasts or novels), music, computer software, and the use of graphic or pictorial works (worksheets, illustrations, photographs, images, maps, etc.) found in printed materials or online without seeking permission from the copyright owner.  Seeking permission means that you contact the copyright holder and ask permission to reproduce the material in your paper.  If you do not seek permission from the copyright owner to use the material in your paper, you will be in violation of copyright law.  For more information on copyright, look at the Library's Copyright page found at  There is also an excellent page on seeking copyright permission found at: you are in doubt, ask FIRST before using the material in your paper.

Posting research papers, articles, theses, posters or any other work in MINDS@UW-River Falls does not mean that you give up your copyright. Authors who submit a work to the repository retain all aspects of copyright, unless they explicitly give it away to a third party. Please note that the library is not asking for control of an authors' copyright nor is the library seeking to publish a work in place of a traditional publisher. Instead, the library is asking permission to archive and display all scholarly material produced by the university's faculty, staff and students.

Chalmer Davee Library seeks permission from all authors of a given work before making the item available in the institutional repository by sending the author(s) a non-exclusive grant of permission form. This form asks the author for permission to digitize and distribute the author’s work for nonprofit, educational purposes via the Internet or successive technologies. If the work has multiple authors, the library asks permission from all parties involved and will not post a work in the repository unless all authors have given permission.  The library retains all copyright permission forms. Additionally, attached to every item in the repository is a Creative Commons License which informs the viewer of the copyright rights of the author.  The standard Creative Commons License states that a person cannot copy, alter, transform, or build upon the work nor can the viewer use the work for commercial purposes.

Some authors may be concerned that depositing their work in the repository may violate copyright agreements that they have with a commercial publisher. While some publishers deny the rights of authors to post articles on personal pages or on non-commercial web sites, such as a department Web page or in an institutional repository, there are some publishers who allow authors to post articles online with certain restrictions or with no restrictions. Visit the SHERPA-RoMEO site at to find out if your publisher allows articles to be posted online or if you are uncertain, it is best to contact the publisher directly or visit a specific publishers web site for more information.

Additionally, you can consider adding an Author Addendum to a publisher's agreement before your article is published. An author addendum allows authors to retain certain rights, such as the right to post an article in a institutional repository. There are several organizations that have information on author rights.  SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, has information on the author addendum and the rights of authors at Additionally, the Scholar's Copyright Project, from Science Commons, has a wealth of information and four different versions of an Author Addendum located at: and it has just added the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine (SCAE) to assist you in working with the addendum.

For additional information on your rights as authors, check out the articles below or our informational brochure.  If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us at

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