Can I Copy This? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself before You Start Your Copy Job

August 12, 2016

From time to time, we all find ourselves in need of a copier. Maybe you’re going on vacation and need copies of your travel documents. Perhaps you’re a teacher and need copied material for your classroom, or you own a restaurant and need copies of your takeout menu. If you don’t have your own copy machine, you’ll want to pay a visit to your local AIM Mail Center. Remember, in some cases copyright laws apply, so ask yourself these four questions to make sure it’s ok to continue with your project.

1.    “Is the content lawfully mine?”
    If the answer is yes, you can make your copies. Things like your own original artwork, music, writing, and personal documents, like bank statements, travel documents, and medical records, all belong to you, and you can make copies as needed.

2.    “Is this part of the public domain?”
    If you know for certain that a piece is part of the public domain, you are free to make copies of it. Works in the public domain are no longer protected by copyright, and you can use it without getting permission from the former copyright owner. Unless you have proof to the contrary, it is recommended that you assume all work is copyrighted.

3.    “Does the “Fair Use” rule apply?”
    According to the United States Copyright Office, “Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports.” Before using someone else’s work, it’s a good idea to do extra research to find out if the “Fair Use” rule applies. If it is determined that the “Fair Use” rule applies, you can make your copies.

4.    “Is this protected by copyright?”
    If you answer yes to this question, get written permission from the copyright owner before you make copies.

For more information about copyrights, visit

The next time you find yourself in need of copying services, visit the AIM Mail Center location nearest you!  Whether you need a single copy or 100,000 photocopies, the professionals at AIM Mail Centers are ready to provide you with friendly, helpful and quick service.

Copy Services at AIM Mail Centers

Source: United States Copyright Office