What is copyright?
Copyright is a set of laws designed to give creators a package of rights over their original works of authorship. These rights include:
Copyright protects and balances the rights of the author and the public. The law recognizes that creative works are unique, intellectual property with potential commercial value. Additionally, it provides a legal framework to recover damages in cases of infringement and it provides an outline of acceptable methods of using protected works for many purposes.
What does copyright protect?
According to the U.S. Copyright Office, “copyright protects ‘original works of authorship’ that are fixed in a tangible form of expression.” In other words, the work must be written or recorded in some form to be protected. The following types of works are identified:
What does copyright not protect?
Copyright does not protect the following:
What is the Public Domain?
The Public Domain refers to works that were created in certain time periods that are no longer protected by copyright. The following works are in the Public Domain:
*www.copyright.gov is a source to check the copyright status of works. Renewed works will be registered here. Please note: not all renewal records are available electronically.
Oakland Community College offers these resources as part of its general copyright information on this site. The information presented is not a substitute for legal advice obtained from a licensed attorney.
The information contained in Copyright Basics is originally from Wayne State University. Used with permission.