First, determine if you are dealing with a copyrighted work. Generally works created prior to 1923 are in the public domain. See the public domain tab to learn how to identify works in the public domain.
If the work is copyrighted, your next step is to:
If the work is not in the public domain or licensed for use, is there a legal exemption to copyright law that would allow you to use the work? Examples:
If the work you wish to use is not licensed or covered by an exemption, you may run a Fair Use analysis. See the Fair Use tab.
If none of the above allows you to use a copyrighted work, then you can seek permission which may involve paying royalties.
Kevin Smith, Fair Use of Movies & Music: Managing Copyright in Higher Ed, 2010
Nothing on this guide is to be construed as legal advice. These pages are intended to provide information and guidance in the application of copyright law and related guidelines. This Guide is based on Let's Copy It Right: A Guide to Copyright for UMKC Educators and Students, created by the University of Missouri Kansas City under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License.