Copyrights & Trademarks


"What is a copyright?"

Copyright is the exclusive right to reproduce copies of the work, to prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work, to distribute copies of copyrighted works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, and to display the copyrighted work publicly. More information about copyright can be found under the copyright section of the ITC website. 


"What can be copyrighted?"

Books, music, paintings, works of art, computer software, dramatic works, motion pictures, sound recordings, maps, and other original works of authorship may be copyrighted. It is important to note that ideas per se may not be copyrighted.


"Who owns copyrights at LSU?"

The author owns the copyright in many instances, while LSU owns the copyright in others. See Chapter VII of the Bylaws for details on copyright ownership.


"What is the life of a copyright?"

Copyrights are in effect for the life of the last surviving author, plus 70 years. If the work is produced as a result of the author's employment, the term is 95 years from the first publication, or 120 years after the creation of the work, whichever is shorter.


"How does one protect copyrights?"

Copyright status is automatically established by the creation of a work. It is recommended that copyright notices be conspicuously placed on a work.


"How should the copyright notice appear on a computer software?"

There is no set format. The first title screen should usually contain at least the following:

  • Software's name and version
  • Individual author's name(s) or Louisiana State University, as appropriate
  • Publication year
  • Copyright or © 


"What does the symbol © mean? When should it be used?"

The symbol © means "copyright." It is advisable, though not required, to use either the symbol © or the word "copyright" as part of the copyright notice described above.


"Should copyrights be registered and if so, where?"

It is not mandatory to register copyrights, although registering copyrights within certain time frames has certain advantages. Copyrights are registered with the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.


"What is a trademark?"

A trademark is a name, design, symbol, or other indicium that distinguishes goods or services from one source from goods or services of another source.


"What do the symbols ® and TM mean? When should they be used?"

The symbol ® refers to a registered trademark, a trademark that has been registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The symbol TM refers to a trademark; there is no implication that the mark has been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It is good practice to respect the trademarks of others by including the appropriate symbol when referring to a product in publications, including papers in peer-reviewed journals. When doing so, it is usually best to use the symbol and nomenclature in the same manner as the manufacturer itself does.

Please contact LSU Trademark Licensing to discuss proposed uses of trademarks owned by the University.