What is Copyright?
Copyright is a legal protection automatically granted to creators of certain types of works. Copyright can also be transferred to others through legal agreements. Copyright owners have these rights (17 U.S. Code § 106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works)
When is Copyright Granted?
Copyright is automatically granted to a creator once a work is fixed into a tangible medium of expression and includes "original creative expression" (17 U.S. Code § 102.Subject matter of copyright: In general). No registration or publication is required to have copyright protections.That means the moment a story is written down, a song recorded, or a picture taken the creator generally holds a copyright in that object.
Only certain types of works qualify for protection:
What's Not Protected?
Certain types of works are excluded from copyright protection (17 U.S. Code § 102. Subject matter of copyright: In general)
More information can be found on the US Copyright Office website
How Long Does Copyright Last?
For works created today and on, copyright lasts from the moment the work is created and last until 70 years after they die. Older works have varying lengths of copyright. See this article on The Public Domain to determine copyright terms.
This guide is designed to provide resources for the campus community to understand copyright and fair use as it applies to the educational setting
Neither the use of this guide nor the content presented here constitute legal advice.
Copyright is a set of legal protections codified in United States law. These are the most common laws but is not meant to be an exhaustive list.