Limitations on Copyright

Copyright law in the United States seeks, above all else, to balance the rights of copyright owners and the rights of the public to use copyrighted works for the purpose of advancing knowledge and society. To balance the rights of these two groups, the law, Congress and the courts have provided a number of limitations to the exclusive rights of copyright owners. These exceptions and exemptions allow the public – with certain provisions – to use copyrighted works without first seeking permission from the copyright owners.

It is the responsibility of the individual who wishes to use copyright material to determine whether the material or use falls under one of these exceptions/exemptions. If there is ever any doubt, it is recommended that the individual seek permission from the copyright owner to use his/her work.

IMPORTANT: Contract law supersedes copyright law. If an individual, an academic department, school, or Pacific University, has entered into a licensing or contractual agreement for certain material (e.g. an image collection, database, etc) it may not be possible to apply these exceptions or exemptions to use of that