For faculty and staff

Copyright, fair use, permissions and photo usage

Copyright law: It is the policy of the University of Missouri and University of Missouri Extension to comply with federal copyright laws, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

Photo usage policy: University of Missouri Extension policy, in accordance with Right of Privacy laws, requires employees to obtain consent to publish from individuals who are photographed.

Copyright overview

Copyright law protects the owner of creative materials from unauthorized use — infringement — of his or her work. U.S. copyright laws protect literary works, musical or sound recordings, and pictorial or graphical designs. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, signed into law Oct. 28, 1998, the same copyright protections apply to online computer software, music, movies and written works.

Infringement is the violation of any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner: right to reproduce, distribute, modify, perform and prepare derivative versions of the work. Willful acts of infringement are punishable by statutory damages and, in some instances, may be the basis for criminal prosecution.

Copyright is fixed at the time a work is created. Registering a copyright is not required for protection, and the owner is not required to display the copyright symbol — ©.

University of Missouri Extension publications must comply with the University of Missouri's Collected Rules and Regulations. The copyright is held by the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

Copyright and permissions for extension faculty and staff

Refer to MU Extension guide, CM550, Getting Permissions for Use of Copyrighted Material in MU Extension Publications and Curricula.

University of Missouri Libraries developed an excellent set of copyright and permissions resources on the web for MU Extension faculty and staff.

  • Request permission to use any printed or electronic graphics, photographs, cartoons, musical works, text, etc. The lack of a copyright statement does not preclude protection.
  • Educational use is not always a protection against copyright infringement. (For more information, and to learn about the four factors that are considered in determining if a specific reproduction is "fair use," see Columbia University Libraries Fair Use Checklist.)
  • While it is not legally required, it is usually a good policy to contact website owners before linking to their webpage or site. The owner of the site may have restrictions on linking from another site.
  • Information on copyright ownership of works created by University of Missouri employees is available at Section 100.030 of the University's Collected Rules and Regulations. Works owned by the University should have a copyright notice that reads: © (year) by The Curators of the University of Missouri, a public corporation
  • Permission to use materials, in most cases, can be obtained online.

MU Extension has developed a brief guide to help you understand how copyright licensing affects your use of photos and images in extension work. CM551, Using Photos and Images in MU Extension Programming: Copyright Licensing.

Photo usage policy

Right of privacy laws give an individual the right to control the use of his or her image by others. University of Missouri policy requires that written permission be obtained to use an individual's image in all publications, including web documents and videos. If the subject is a minor, then a parent or legal guardian must sign the photo release.

Download the MU photo release form on the Photo and video release page.

Related web resources: