It is vitally important to obtain permission from publishers, copyright owners or artists when using their work – including music, photos, videos and software. When reusing work from a department or office at Western, ask for permission from the department associated with the content.

Purchasing and obtaining use permission for copyrighted works can be expensive, but there are legal alternatives. It is your responsibility to the university community to use digital media only in ethically and legally sound ways.

Western Properties

The guides on this site provide information on the use of university logos, athletic marks and the university seal. Keep in mind that when you incorporate university logos or marks your work becomes a representation of the university and should be vetted accordingly to ensure that it aligns with university goals and values.


Products that are identified as "shareware licensed," like software so designated, are available for use in compliance with their license, which generally requests a small payment for use after the fact. Few audio clips, visual images or image collections qualify as shareware.

Site-Licensed Materials

There may be opportunities for you to utilize works already approved for university use as a part of a site-license. If the work you are interested in using is part of a site-licensed collection, make certain that the site-license covers your intended use.  

Public Domain Items

Members of the university community may utilize public domain works without permission; however, it is extremely important to determine whether the full work is public domain or if components of it carry a copyright. For information on determining public domain status of an item, contact Western Libraries.

Unclear Ownership

Copyright ownership can change over time, making ownership of some digital works unclear. As a part of Western’s community, you have a responsibility to clarify ownership before using materials. Use options for copyrighted works can vary widely; review digital media copyrights carefully before using or redistributing works. The law is rarely clear with regard to intellectual property, so it is very important to exercise due diligence when reviewing copyright and usage restrictions.

Copyright Questions and Assistance

Still unsure about whether you can use a piece of digital media?

Consult Western’s Using Copyrighted Materials Policy

Check with University Communications and Marketing

They have a number of resources available regarding copyrighted materials and can assist you directly with copyright questions.

Check with Western Libraries