You have probably seen this symbol and know it is the copyright symbol.  Just what does that mean and how is it relevant to your research paper?  Copyrighted material is owned by someone and no one else may use it without permission from the owner.  All published and unpublished materials are protected by copyright, whether you see this symbol or not.
You already know that you have to cite your sources and give credit to the author.  Does this mean that you also have to ask the author for permission to refer to his work in your paper?  Fortunately, in this case, the answer is no.  Fair Use laws say that you can use small portions of another person's work, without asking permission.  However, you must still acknowledge your source by citing it, and you must never profit from using this material, or cause harm to the owner by using it.

For more information on copyright laws and educational issues, view the tutorial, Copyright Law for Educators, one of the GCN Training: Internet Based Tutorials which can be found in the left column of the library homepage, in both the Tutorials Group and on the Database Services page.  Follow directions to create a password. Also check out our online Copyright Center which can accessed from the left menu of the library homepage.