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Copyright Law & Fair Use: Obtaining & Using Research Instruments

Research guide discussing copyright law, fair use, TEACH act, and public performance rights.

Obtaining & Using Research Instruments

Testing instruments are copyright protected. It is your responsibility as a researcher to get the appropriate permissions prior to using a testing instrument if the work is not in the public domain or Creative Commons. 

Instrument You Have Seen in Literature

If you have seen a testing instrument mentioned in a research article, you will need to contact the copyright holder directly for permission. Who the copyright holder is depends on many variables. The copyright holder could be the author, publisher, or a third-party company. In some cases, you can do an internet search of the name of the test instrument to determine if the item is available for purchase or locate an individual who holds the copyright for the material. It is also a good idea to search within PsycTESTS for the instrument.



Instrument from PsycTESTS

If the test is included in the PsycTESTS database, the permissions will be listed for each work either on the information page for the record or on one of the first pages of the PDF. If the full-text of the instrument is not available, often an email is included to contact the copyright holder for permission. A link to PsycTESTS is included below.