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Copyright 101: Copyright Introduction

Information on Copyright laws and Fair Use guideliines

Copyright Basics

The SCC library has developed a series of guidelines regarding copyright issues pertaining to educational materials. Read on to learn more about maintaining compliance with the laws and regulations that govern intellectual property rights. Please be aware that copyright rules change very frequently and that information in the copyright guide is not to be used as legal advice.  

Common Questions

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.

What does copyright protect?

Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed.

Why is copyright important?

Because one's intellectual property is protected, it is a violation of the law to use someone else's work (be a painting, a poem, a song) for their personal gain, financially or not. It can also come with legal consequences.

Can I use someone else's work?

Yes, but you need to get permission. One way of getting permission is to ask the owner of the copyrighted work. Refer to refer to Circular 16A: How to Obtain Permission.

But I'm a student/educator and I need to use this copyright work for a class/lesson/assignment and I don't have time nor do I know how to track the owner. What do I do?

Great question! On this guide, there are various tabs that will explain how you can obtain copyright and use another person's work without violating copyright law. Please read on!

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