Skip to main content

Pharmacy: Copyright, Fair Use, Citing

Attribution or Citing Is...

  • Providing clear documentation of source materials
  • Perceiving and engaging in a scholarly conversation
  • Understanding copyright regulations, fair use, and when to seek permissions

What is a Citation Manager?

A citation manager is a tool you can use to keep track of and organize the citations from your research, and can save you time by formatting your bibliography.

About Zotero

Zotero

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is free application that collects, manages, and cites research sources. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations, organize them into collections for different projects, insert citations into Word documents, and create bibliographies.

Zotero works with Mac/Windows/Linux OS and with Firefox/Safari/Chrome

Zotero works best if you do your research on your own computer(s). If you do most of your research on public computers, try RefWorks

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to Ask Us

As of July 2017, Zotero Standalone is the only version of Zotero available. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if something is copyrighted?

Copyright protections are given to any original work that is “fixed in any tangible medium of expression at the work’s creation.” Facts, ideas, U.S. government works and any work published before 1923 are considered public domain.

See: Copyright Ownership

How do I know whether my use of copyrighted materials is protected under the “Fair Use” clause of the Copyright Act?

Fair use is a legal doctrine that allows the public to make limited uses of copyrighted works without permission. Fair use may not be what you expect. Therefore, do not assume that a nonprofit, educational use or giving credit for the source of the work, or that limiting access to materials to students in the class creates an inherent fair use. Fair use depends on a balancing of four factors, which may be addressed by a variety of means.

See: Fair Use - 4 Factors and Fair Use Analysis Tools

Can I repost items I find on the web without having to worry about copyright? Isn’t all of that stuff in the public domain?

Many people mistakenly assume that everything posted on the Internet is in the public domain. It is vital for you to know that current copyright law gives legal protection to nearly all text, images, audiovisual recordings, and other materials that are posted on the Internet, even if the original works do not include any statement about copyright. Always give attribution.

See: Getting Permission from the Copyright Holder and Fair Use - 4 Factors and Fair Use Analysis Tools for more Fair Use Myths

Common Fair Use Myths

From the Center for Media & Social Impact

IF I’M NOT MAKING ANY MONEY OFF IT, IT’S FAIR USE.

Noncommercial use is indeed one of the considerations for fair use, but it is hard to define. If people want to share their work only with a defined closed-circle group, they are in a favorable legal position. But beyond that, in the digital online environment, wholesale copying can be unfair even if no money changes hands. So if work is going public, it is good to be able to rely on the rationale of transformativeness, which applies fully even in "commercial" settings.

IF I’M MAKING ANY MONEY OFF IT (OR TRYING TO), IT’S NOT FAIR USE.

Although nonprofit, personal, or academic uses often have good claims to be considered "fair," they are not the only ones. A new work can be commercial--even highly commercial--in intent and effect and still invoke fair use. Most of the cases in which courts have found unlicensed uses of copyrighted works to be fair have involved projects designed to make money, including some that actually have.

FAIR USE CAN’T BE ENTERTAINING.

A use is no less likely to qualify as a fair one because the film in which it occurs is effective in attracting and holding an audience. If a use otherwise satisfies the principles and limitations described in this code, the fact that it is entertaining or emotionally engaging should be irrelevant.

IF I TRY TO LICENSE MATERIAL, I’VE GIVEN UP MY CHANCE TO USE FAIR USE.

Everyone likes to avoid conflict and reduce uncertainty, and a maker may choose to seek permissions even in situations where they may not be required. Later, a maker still may decide to employ fair use. The fact that a license was requested--or even denied--doesn't undercut an otherwise valid fair use claim. If a rights holder denies a license unreasonably, this actually may strengthen the case for fair use.

I REALLY NEED A LAWYER TO MAKE THE CALL ON FAIR USE.

Fair use is a part of the law that belongs to everyone. A lawyer usually works for a client by reducing risk; in copyright law, that often means counseling purchase of rights for all uses of copyrighted material. If clients tell lawyers that they want to assert their rights (something that has a very low risk, if they understand what their rights are) then lawyers can recommend appropriate policies; but lawyers need to be told what their clients want.

And finally, a special note from the lawyers among us: Be careful not to draw too much from specific past court cases.

A good example of one decision that easily can be over-interpreted is the California District Court decision in L.A. Times v. Free Republic, 56 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1862 (C.D. Cal. 2000), which ruled that a right-wing electronic bulletin board that invited reader comments on mainstream media content was not fair use. This anomalous case predates a Supreme Court decision (Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 U.S. 186, 2003) that clearly asserted the link between fair use and free speech. Furthermore, decisions like Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films, 410 F.3d 792 (6th Cir. 2005), dealing with infringement standards in music sampling, are widely cited for fair use principles when in fact they do not concern fair use at all. While case law is of essential importance in establishing legal norms, it is the trend in case law that determines such norms. The trend in case law about fair use has strongly been in the direction of supporting transformativeness as a core measure of fair use. This puts the judgment about fair use back squarely in the hands of the new creators and platform providers, who must look carefully at how videos repurpose copyrighted works.