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Copyright at ZU

ZU Copyright statement

Zayed University is committed to upholding the highest standards of intellectual property rights and adheres strictly to the laws governing copyright in the United Arab Emirates as well as international copyright agreements and conventions to which the UAE is a signatory. 

All members of the Zayed University community, including faculty, staff, and students, are required to comply with these legal standards concerning the use, reproduction, and distribution of copyrighted materials. Unauthorized use, duplication, peer-to-peer file sharing, or distribution of copyrighted material, including but not limited to academic content, software, multimedia works, and literary works, without the express permission of the copyright holder is strictly prohibited and may subject the violator to legal action, as well as disciplinary measures as stipulated by University policies and UAE copyright laws.

By accessing and utilizing the resources provided by Zayed University, you acknowledge and agree to respect intellectual property rights and to act in accordance with UAE and international copyright laws. This commitment extends to all university-related activities, both on and off-campus.

Zayed University reserves the right to take appropriate legal and administrative action against individuals who violate copyright laws. Further, the University may amend this statement as required to ensure ongoing compliance with national and international copyright legislation.

Introduction to Copyright

This guide provides information and resources on copyright law and how it relates to academic activities such as research, teaching, learning, and publication.

Copyright rules and laws often seem overwhelming or confusing within one country, let alone when dealing with copyright across national boundaries.  This guide is intended to help ZU faculty and students make ethical decisions about the use of copyrighted materials in the classroom and beyond.

UAE copyright law is somewhat different than US copyright law.  However, due to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (an international copyright treaty that both the US and the UAE have signed), US copyright guidance is often accepted as an international standard, especially regarding educational fair use.  Like many other UAE educational institutions, ZU follows US Fair Use guidelines for the educational use of copyrighted materials.

Below is a basic introduction to U.S. copyright law -- what it protects, how long it lasts, the rights it grants to authors, and its exceptions and limitations.

Other parts of this guide provide further information on:

  • understanding and applying Fair Use
  • determining when you need permission to use copyrighted works and how to get it
  • managing your own copyrights and understanding your rights as an author


What does Copyright Protects

Copyright is a form of legal protection that provides authors of original creative works with limited control over the reproduction and distribution of their work. It gives copyright holders a set of exclusive rights to

  • reproduce the work, in whole or in part,
  • distribute copies of the work,
  • publicly perform the work,
  • publicly display the work, and
  • prepare derivative works based on the original, such as translations or adaptations.

These rights are subject to exceptions and limitations, such as "fair use," which allow limited uses of works without the permission of the copyright holder.


What is not protected by copyright?

  • Facts, ideas
  • Procedures, methods, systems, processes
  • Works that are not fixed in a tangible form
  • Titles, names, short phrases, or slogans
  • Familiar symbols or designs
  • Mere variations of lettering or coloring
  • Mere listings of ingredients or contents
  • Works of the United States government
  • Works that have passed into the public domain

Who owns the copyright to a work?

In most cases, the author or creator of the work is the copyright holder unless they have transferred the rights to someone else through a written agreement, such as a publishing agreement.

If the work is created as part of a person's employment, it may be a "work for hire," meaning that the employer is the copyright holder. In the university setting, faculty writings and other "traditional works of scholarship," such as syllabi and lecture materials are typically not considered to be works for hire.

If two or more people collaborate together to create a work, they are joint holders of the copyright. Joint owners each have an equal right to exercise and enforce the copyright.

How long does Copyright lasts

Under current U.S. law, copyright lasts until 70 years after the death of the author. For works made for hire, the copyright term is either 95 years from the date of publication, or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever is shorter.

After the copyright term expires, works pass into the public domain, meaning that anyone is free to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise re-use the work.