Copyright Info Center
The information in the Copyright Information Center is given to provide a general and brief overview of the United States Copyright Law and Fair Use guidelines as applied to education and school projects. Please feel free to download a printable brochure of this information.
What is Copyright?
According to United States law, copyright is defined as protection of an author’s original works that are in a tangible medium. Certain exclusive rights are given to the author of the original works:
The right to make copies of the work
The right to adapt the original work
The right to copy and distribute the work for sale, lease or lend
The right to display or perform the work publicly
Why is the Copyright Law important?
The Copyright Law gives the author(s) of an original work credit for creativity and initiative and financial protection. The financial protection encourages more original works. Obeying the Copyright Law benefits society because people will continue to produce original works.
What can be copyrighted?
- Literary works
- Dramatic works
- Musical works
- Artistic works
- Examples: Poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, photographs/illustrations, and architecture
What is not copyrighted?
- Short phrases
- Methods of operation
- Government works (according to section 105 of the copyright law)
When is permission needed?
When the copyrighted material in the educational project is for commercial reproduction and distribution.
When the duplication needed exceeds the listed limitations – even for educational use.
When sharing the personally created educational projects over electronic networks outside of the course for which the projects were created.