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NIH Library Writing Center: Copyright


To help you stay out of hot water, we start this page with the NIH Catalyst article, Copyrighting Right, by Stephanie Cooperstein and Christopher Wanjek. You will learn about misconceptions (What is fair use? Can I put that cartoon in my slide show?) and how to address them.

About Copyright, from the Copyright Clearance Center, provides an overview of copyright issues including Fair Use, Public Domain, and the First Sale Doctrine (under the Exceptions and Limitations section).

Copyright FAQs from CENDI, an interagency working group of senior scientific and technical information (STI) managers from 13 U.S. federal agencies.

Copyright Law defined in Title 17 of the United States Code. Circular 92, Chapter 1 provides subject matter coverage and scope.

Copyright - Open Access - Public Access is a helpful tip sheet on issues pertinent to NIH.

Copyrighting Right gives guidelines on what NIH authors should know about copyright needed in typical work-related situations.

PMC Copyright Notice provides copyright guidelines for the use of journal articles found in PubMed Central. Included are guidelines for use of the Public Domain journals Emerging Infectious Diseases and Preventing Chronic Disease.


Wikipedia defines plagiarism as "the practice of claiming, or implying, original authorship of (or incorporating material from) someone else's written or creative work, in whole or in part, into one's own without adequate acknowledgement."

Read the Office of Research Integrity’s (ORI) guidance on plagiarism at:


Request Consultation (for NIH Staff)
Request copyright or legal guidance from the Office of the General Counsel.


Copyright and Plagiarism: What NIH Authors Need to Know
NIH employees make presentations about their research as well as publish about it in journal articles, book chapters, or books. To enhance audience engagement, NIH authors often choose to use cartoons, illustrations, photographs, figures, and tables. In this class, you will learn how to reduce the risk of copyright infringement and plagiarism when using artwork or writing that is not your own.

No class currently scheduled.   To request a tutorial, email the NIH Library Writing Center.


The University of Maryland University College's Center for Intellectual Property provides multimedia learning resources for students who want to become proficient on copyright and plagiarism. In addition, UMUC provides additional guides for creating citations and avoiding plagiarism. More general guidelines on copyright can be found on the University College website.

Many other universities and colleges provide writing center Web sites that may provide additional assistance in defining copyright and avoiding plagiarism. Among them are:



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