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Rights and registration

Rights provided by copyright

  • Make copies of the work
  • Distribute copies of the work (freely or by selling, renting, or lending)
  • Perform or display the work publicly
  • Make derivative works, like translations, adaptations, and reinterpretations

The copyright owner decides if another can make use of their rights, by granting permission or licensing some or all of these rights.

Copyright registration

You don't have to do anything to have the protections of copyright; once your work is fixed, you automatically gain these rights. Publication of the work is not required, nor formal registration, nor inclusion of a copyright notice.

Employers usually own the works created by their employees in the course of their job, and commission works (works for hire) are usually owned by the person or company that commissioned them. Virginia Tech intellectual property policy states copyright for traditional works of scholarship (articles, books, and artistic works) created by Virginia Tech faculty are owned by that faculty member. (Other products of scholarship, such as patents, are treated differently.)

Adding a copyright statement (the word copyright or the symbol © along with the name of the author or creator and the date of creation or publication) can help make your ownership clear.

Registration with the US Copyright Office can offer some legal benefits in case of infringement. You'll pay a fee and need to deposit a copy of the work.

Licensing your work

You can choose to license your work to others. Virginia Tech authors have several cases where licensing is required:

  • Graduate students must give the library a license to display their ETD online and give ProQuest rights to copy and deposit dissertations in a database
  • Authors of journal articles have several options for granting journals permission to publish their works.

Contact us

  •     Gail McMillan
  • Gail M McMillan
  • Director , Scholarly Communication
  • 540-231-9252
  • gailmac@vt.edu
  • 2036 Newman Library (0434)
    560 Drillfield Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24061
  • Anita Walz
  • Open Education and Online Learning Environments Librarian
  • 540-231-2204
  • arwalz@vt.edu
  • 207B Newman Library (0434)
    560 Drillfield Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24061