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Copyright law overview



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  • 1. Copyright Law Overview By Geralyn Dominguez
  • 2. What is Copyright? “Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to authors of ‘original works of authorship,’ including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.”1
  • 3. What is Infringement? “Anyone who violates any of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner an infringer of the copyright or right of the author.”2 If you do not obtain the “copyright owners permission you may be liable for infringement.”2
  • 4. Material you can freely use Unprotected works: - “Works that lack originality… - Works in the public domain - US Government works - Facts - Ideas, processes, methods, and systems described in copyrighted works.”3
  • 5. Material you can freely usecontinued “Library-licensed works Creative Commons licensed works” 3 Works covered by implied license3
  • 6. What is the Public Domain? “A public domain work is a creative work that is not protected by copyright and which may be freely used by everyone. The reasons that the work is not protected include: (1) the term of copyright for the work has expired; (2) the author failed to satisfy statutory formalities to perfect the copyright or (3) the work is a work of the U.S. Government.”4
  • 7. What is Creative Commons? “Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through legal tools.”5 It’s free and they work with copyright.5
  • 8. Creative Commons continued to find CC- licensed content that you are openly and legally permitted to use.5
  • 9. But what is Fair Use? Fairuse allows you to reproduce copyrighted works if your intent is considered “fair.” Examples include using the work for “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.”6
  • 10. Fair Use: Two Questions to askyourself “Isthe use you want to make of another’s work transformative--that is, does it add value to and repurpose the work for a new audience”?3 “And is the amount of the material you want to use appropriate to achieve your transformative purpose?”3
  • 11. Four Question Fair Use Test “What is the character of the use? What is the nature of the work to be used? How much of the work will be used? What effect would this use have on the market for the original or for permissions if the use were widespread?”3
  • 12. TEACH Act and the Classroom The TEACH Act is a “separate set of rights in addition to fair use, to display (show) and perform (show or play) others’ works in the classroom.”7 Certain limitations apply for “in-class” vs. “distance education” classrooms. Visit for help in making the determination of use.
  • 13. You can always ask forpermissionA good starting point is a collective rights organization such as the Copyright Clearance Center.8 Contact the owner and get written permission. 8 For additional resources, visit: (sic)
  • 14. References1. Copyright Basics. (May 2012). Copyright: United States Copyright Office. Retrieved September 5, 2012. From Stopping Copyright Infringement. (March 10, 2010). Copyright: United States Copyright Office. Retrieved September 7, 2012. From infringement.html3. Harper, Georgia K. (2012). Building On Others’ Creative Expression: Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials. Copyright Crash Course. Retrieved September 1, 2012. From Gasaway, Lolly. (November 4, 2003). When U.S. Works Pass into the Public Domain. University of North Carlina. Retrieved September 9, 2012. From About. (n.d.). Creative Commons. Retrieved September 4, 2012. From Fair Use. (June 2012). Copyright: United States Copyright Office. Retrieved September 15, 2012. From Harper, Georgia K. (2012). Building On Others’ Creative Expression: The TEACH Act. Copyright Crash Course. Retrieved September 1, 2012. From Harper, Georgia K. (2012). Building On Others’ Creative Expression: Getting Permission. Copyright Crash Course. Retrieved September 1, 2012. From