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 Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. ~copyright.gov
The Internet makes everything accessible, BUT does that mean it is free?
You can avoid being an accidental pirate. Here are some basic FAQS to understanding the way copyright is used and protected.
- What is protected by copyright?
- Original works including music, art, literary works, photos.
- How do you find the owner of copyrighted material?
- You can contact the Copyright Office.
- Can you get permission to use copyrighted material?
- You can contact the author and request permission.
- How do I avoid using a copyright protected item?
- NEVER download pirated movies, music or books.
- Seek out materials under the Creative Commons
- Need a photo or clipart to use on your blog?
- Use Creative Commons licensed materials.
- Use materials labeled for reuse.
- What is ‘Fair Use’?
- Fair use allows for limited copying of the copyrighted material for educational and research purposes.
- Do copyrights last forever?
- No, but they do live a very long time. The current law states that copyright protection begins at the moment of creation and continues until 70 years after the author has died.
- What is Public Domain?
- Creative works that have expired copyrights, have been donated or waived their rights, have been created prior to copyright laws or do not fall under the rules of copyright are considered public domain.
Finally, if you aren’t sure about the licensing of the material, don’t use it! It’s better to be safe and legal than to face possible lawsuits for copyright infringement.