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Copyright and Plagiarism
Home » Current Students » Copyright and Plagiarism » Copyright Definitions

Copyright Definitions

A form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for "original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. "Copyright" literally means the right to copy, but has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, title, principle, or discovery. Similarly, names, titles, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols, mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, coloring, and listings of contents or ingredients are not subject to copyright.

Copy (noun)
The material object, other than a phonorecord, in which the copyrighted work is first fixed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Copyright notice
The copyright notice consists of three elements. They are the "c" in a circle ©, the year of first publication, and the name of the owner of copyright. A copyright notice is no longer legally required to secure copyright on works first published on or after March 1, 1989, but it does provide legal benefits.

Where is the public domain?
The public domain is not a place. A work of authorship is in the "public domain" if it is no longer under copyright protection or if it failed to meet the requirements for copyright protection. Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner.

Fair Use
Fair use is a limited doctrine providing for certain exceptions when permission is not required to use portions of copyrighted works.

To publish a work is to distribute copies or media of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. Publication also includes offering to distribute copies or media to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication.

Intellectual property
Something that has received commercial value by being created mentally or intellectually, such as literature, art, business methods, industrial processes, and so on.

Compulsory (or statutory) license
A license defined by U.S. law to use material in a reasonable and non-discriminatory way without consulting the copyright holders with each use.

The Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act signed into U.S. law in November 2002. It stipulates how copyrighted content may be used in distance education. It also spells out how the university, faculty, staff, and students must behave and not behave to be in compliance with the law when so using the material.

Please note the following disclaimer: This website should not be construed as a substitute for legal advice, nor does it guarantee complete accuracy or comprehensiveness on the subject of copyright. Please consult an attorney for specific situations.

Last Updated: 05/12/2015
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