Policy Code: 
Effective Date: 
Monday, May 13, 2002
Revision Number: 


This guideline is to advise users of the application of copyright law on documents, graphics, databases, etc found on the Internet as well as the appropriate use of trademarks and logos. This document is not intended to be an official legal guide but to present an awareness when using information from the Internet.


U.S. and international copyright laws establishes that copyright applies as soon as a work is presented/fixed by the creator/author. No notice is required to activate the copyright protection. Copyright pertains to original works of authorship in a tangible medium of expression, which can be perceived, reproduced or other wise communicated, tangible mediums include literary, musical, dramatic, pantomime, choreographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptured, architectural, and other audiovisual works, as well as, sound recordings and motion pictures.

Public Domain

Current copyright law established the copyright term as life of the author plus 70 years. Any works prior to 1923 are considered as public domain. When the copyright expires or the copyright owner releases the rights to it, the material is considered as public domain material. Public domain material may still be covered by patents, trademarks or licenses.

Copyright and the Internet

All text, images, sounds, animations, etc. found on the Internet should be considered as covered by copyright law. Unless the author states the material may be reproduced or it is identified as public domain material, it cannot be used without approval. Posting credit to the author on material which has been reproduced or copied does not meet the copyright law and does not remove the need to obtain permission to copy the material. Prior to downloading such information, permission should be obtained. In most cases, a request may be sent directly to the Web Master. If contact information of the creator/author is listed, a request should be sent to the creator/author. If ownership cannot be identified, it may be best not to use it or discuss with your legal counsel.

Linking to an Internet site does not violate the copyright law. In such cases, content is not being copied as the viewer is being transferred to the creator's/author's site. However, if using a logo or trademark on your web site to create the link, it should be appropriately identified. (See the following section on trademarks and logos.)

E-mail is considered an original work of authorship and copyright law applies to it. Care should be taken when e-mail is forwarded or copied.

Trademarks and Logos

Names of specific companies or products referenced on an agency web site should be appropriately identified as the property of their respective owners and permission of their use should be obtained. Any mark or logo claimed as a trademark by the owner should be designated with the appropriate symbol when incorporated in documents or an agency web site.

© (Copyright)
A work is automatically copyrighted when it is released by its creator. The copyright symbol (C in a circle) may be placed on the document usually immediately after the title. It is not necessary to apply for registration to use this symbol.
™ (Trademark)
Anyone who claims rights to a mark may use the TM designation to identify their claim to the mark. It is not necessary to register the mark or have an application pending to use this symbol.
℠ (Service Mark)
Same as the trademark.
® (Registered)
May be applied to all works, trademarks, or logos which have been registered with the federal government. This is the strongest protection.

Additional Resources

Further information regarding copyright may be obtained from:

Drafted By

IT Coordinators Council