At University Libraries, we get regular questions about copyright, so I thought today would be a good day to go over a few copyright basics and point you to some library resources that may help you understand everyone's rights a little bit better.
- Copyright gives the owner of a copyright six exclusive rights. You can read about those here, on the website for the United States Copyright Office
- Copyright, for most works, now lasts for the lifetime of the author + 70 years. They then pass into the public domain. Use this chart from Lolly Gasaway to help you figure out when that might be for a particular work!
- Government documents are completely within the public domain--they are not under copyright protection
- Copyright protection begins the moment that the work exists--no one needs to register anything for copyright protection
- Several categories of material (such as ideas, names, methods, procedures, etc.) cannot be protected under copyright
- Copyright limitations do exist...
- Fair Use
- The TEACH Act
- First Sale Doctrine (the piece of copyright law allowing libraries to lend books!)
- Personal Copies