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Copyright Assistance

Welcome to the George Mason University Copyright Resources Office (CRO) website. The site offers information related to the interpretation and application of copyright law in higher education, with specific focus on the Mason community. Find out more about using proprietary, Creative Commons-licensed, and public domain content for instruction, research, and assignments.

Questions may be directed to Claudia Holland, Head of the CRO, if you don’t find the information you need on or through this site, or if you just want to talk about copyright! We welcome your feedback, questions, and concerns.

The column to the far right provides links to services and offices in the University Libraries and the broader Mason community that may be useful to you, depending on your need. Links in the column to the immediate right direct you to: material in proprietary databases to which the library subscribes, content in the public domain, and content licensed by Creative Commons. Use these links to search for media you may incorporate into your instructional materials, assignments, and websites. Be sure to cite all third-party content, no matter where it comes from!

A few words about the RSS feeds on this site: The Scholarly Communication @ Duke blog, written by Kevin Smith, J.D., M.L.S., reflects Smith’s personal opinions about current copyright issues affecting higher education. IPKat is a blog that addresses a wide range of intellectual property issues, like copyright, patent, trademarks, and confidentiality. This popular blog is maintained by a cadre of solicitors and other IP experts based in the U.K., Europe, Australia, and the U.S. Finally, Dear Rich, written by attorney and author Richard Stim and other Nolo staff, offers succinct responses (not legal advice)  to questions about copyright, trademarks, and patents. Selection of this site is not intended to promote Nolo products or services; we chose it for the Q&A.

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RSS Scholarly Comm @ Duke

  • Of songs and chairs, or why do we need a public domain April 22, 2014
    I recently received an email from an author asking me if I would write a post about why we need a public domain.  Specifically, the questioner asked me why some things pass into the public domain while others do not; his example was that if you write a song, it eventually becomes PD, but if […]
    Kevin Smith, J.D.

RSS IPKat Blog

  • AdWords dock in a French safe harbour April 22, 2014
    If you thought that the Google AdWords saga ended when the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) ruled that hosting keywords corresponding to trade marks does not amount to a “use in the course of trade” that the right owner can prevent [Google France v Louis Vuitton Mattelier, Joined Cases C-236/08 to C-238/08], then you may want to think twice. T

RSS Dear Rich

  • Still Life of Vacuum Cleaner? April 23, 2014
    Dear Rich: I'd like to create still-life oil paintings (and prints of them) of objects that have been commercially produced. I intend to blur or render vague logos or other trademarks on the objects in the course of painting them. Is a painting of a functional commercial object inherently transformative, as it completely changes the intended use? Does i
    The Dear Rich Staff