This is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. For legal advice, please contact

At Georgia Tech, two main bodies of law and policy are in effect:

  1. Copyright Clause of the United States Constitution, U.S. Code Title 17. This includes copyright case law.
  2. University System of Georgia’s Board of Regent’s policy on intellectual property. Under this policy lies Georgia Tech’s IP policy and the school’s policies concerning acceptable use, cyber security and data privacy.
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As a copyright owner

Your original works fixed in any tangible medium of expression are protected by copyright law, which is a form of intellectual property (IP) law. Once secured, your IP rights may be licensed, transferred, or devised. For works by an individual, the protection lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years. For works created anonymously or for hire, protection lasts 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

What does this mean? If you write an original story, record an original song, take an original photograph – the copyright belongs to you under US copyright law. You get to decide how to share it, whether to sell it or not, or whether to transfer those rights to another entity or individual.

As a copyright user

Making sure your usage of others' copyrighted work does not infringe upon their legal rights can be a daunting process. First, you need to determine whether the work you intend to use is copyrighted. Second, if the work is copyrighted, do you need to get permission? Third, how would you go about getting such permission from the copyright holder? No permission is needed if your intended us falls under one of the copyright exceptions including fair use.