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Copyright, Fair Use & Creative Commons Licensing

A LibGuide to inform faculty and students about copyright.


This guide is designed to share information on copyright and related topics. This guide does not supply legal advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal counsel.

Essential Copyright Resources:

Rights of Copyright Holders

Copyright law protects the following exclusive rights of copyright holders:

  • Reproduction
  • Create derivatives
  • Distribution
  • Public performance
  • Public display

Because these rights are exclusive, copyright holders have the right to either grant or deny others' requests to use their works.

Source: 17 U.S.C. §106

What is Copyright?

Copyright can be very confusing and is also extremely complex.  Copyright is a form of legal protection for authors of "orginial works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.  This protenction is available to both published and unplublished works.

What is protected?

Under 17 USCS Section 102 the following is protected:

  • Literature
  • Music and lyrics
  • Drama
  • Pantomime and dance
  • Pictures, graphics, sculpture
  • Films
  • Sound Recordings
  • Architecture
  • Software

"In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work."

What is not protected by copyright?

  • facts or ideas
  • titles, names, short phrases, or slogans
  • procedures, methods, systems or processes
  • works of the United States government
  • works that have passed into the public domain