This guide has been created to explain some aspects of copyright and to offer examples of acceptable uses of copyrighted materials. While every efforts has been made to ensure its accuracy, it should not be construed as counsel or legal advice. Consult an attorney for advice concerning your specific situation.
An introduction to copyright.
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Copyright exists to encourage “authors” to share their creative works by giving them certain rights which will allow them to profit from their work. These rights come from the Copyright Act of 1976 (Title 17, US Code).
The rights protected by copyright include:
Copyright protects "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression" (Title 17, Section 102, US Code).
Copyright is AUTOMATIC
Copyright Applies To
Copyright Typically Lasts
Examples of Copyrighted Works
Books, magazines, journals, newsletters, maps, charts, photographs, graphic materials, and other printed materials; unpublished materials, such as analysts' and consultants' reports, term papers, letters, and diaries; three dimensional works, including sculptures, paintings, murals, and other artistic works; and electronic materials, such as websites, blogs, emails, pdfs, computer programs and other software, sound recordings, motion pictures, and video files.
Other laws such as patents and trademarks may apply, but the following types of works cannot by copyrighted: