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How to get copyright help at the library

Doctoral student, Peter J. Tanner, was working on his dissertation focused on Latin American literature when he ran into a problem: copyright. The world of copyright can be a vast and confusing place, but the library can help! With the support of the library’s Scholarly Communications & Copyright Librarian, Allyson Mower, Tanner was able to find out what materials he could use in publishing his final dissertation.

“In the process of publishing, if a dissertation is using somebody else’s copyrighted works, you have to do some research to figure out how much you can use and what the copyright status is of the work you are using, and which exceptions you can rely on,” explains Mower.

Peter Tanner’s dissertation contains some poetry from various Latin American writers which required some research with Allyson Mower. “We figured out who the poet was and did some basic copyright research, birth & death dates of the poet, when the poet’s works were published, and what the rules were at the time of publication,” continues Mower. “Some of those works were in the public domain which was a big thumbs up for Peter because he could use them without permission. Some were not in the public domain and still under copyright, so he did a fair use evaluation for those.”

Meeting with a research librarian like Allyson Mower can drastically cut the amount of time needed for research because they can find needed sources and available databases more quickly. Mower is available to meet with students, staff, and faculty to answer any questions regarding copyright resources and more.

To contact Allyson, email

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