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Copyright Infringement

What is copyright infringement?

Copyright infringement happens whenever someone makes copies or commercially exploits a work without the copyright owner's permission. The design does not have to be identical in order to infringe. If it’s similar enough to someone else’s design, it can be a case of copyright infringement. In Marketing and Communications, we take great care to avoid copyright infringement issues. Things we do to avoid copyright issues include:

  • Creating unique designs and illustrations
  • Purchasing rights-managed illustrations
  • Using our own photography or purchasing rights-managed photos
  • Purchasing stock music for videos


Commonly Asked Questions

  1. Can we use an image that we found online using Google Images search?
    No. Those images are compiled from web pages all over the world and are not legal to use without permission.
  2. Can marketing take another university’s design and create a version for UAFS?
    It depends. We can look at the design and take inspiration from it, but we would have to change it significantly to avoid copyright infringement.
  3. I want to promote a movie on campus. Can we use images from that movie to promote it?
    Probably. But to be on the safe side, it would be best to just use that imagery on internal flyers that would hang on campus bulletin boards and not promote the movie online with those images.
  4. The image or art I want to use doesn't have a copyright symbol or trademark beside it, so I can use it, correct?
    Not correct. Artists, photographers, and designers don’t have to register their work; they only need to be able to prove that they created the work to have a legal case of copyright infringement.
  5. If I want to add music to a video I made, can I use any music with it that I want?
    No. The only music you are allowed to use would be music that is purchased for the purpose of adding to videos or commercials. There are several sites online that you can use for this purpose, and even some free sites.


Who is liable for infringement?

Any person involved in the use of a copyrighted work is liable for infringement. This could be the student or employee who used the design or image, the department that made the copies of the design or image, and the university itself. This is why it’s important to know what you can and cannot use and to involve Marketing and Communications in the review/approval process.