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This is the "Introduction" page of the "Copyright Basics for Faculty" guide.
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Copyright Basics for Faculty   Tags: copyright  

This guide provides information about using copyrighted materials in the online and face-to-face classroom. Disclaimer: This guide is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice.
Last Updated: Jul 30, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Introduction Print Page

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States. It gives the creator of an original work the right to protect his or her work from unauthorized use by others.

Copyright protects any original work of authorship that is in tangible form, regardless of whether or not a notice of copyright Copyright symbol exists on the work.


What is Copyleft?

"Copyleft is a general method for making a program or other work free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well." Read more.


Why is Copyright Important?

Copyright promotes the development of scholarship through respect for the work of others.


Copyright on Campus

This program is made available from the Copyright Clearance Center. It may be viewed online or downloaded.

Copyright on Campus


An Author's Rights

In the United States, intellectual property can be owned. Once an individual writes down an original idea, records it, draws it, performs it, or puts it in some tangible form, it belongs to them; it iscopyrighted. The creator of the copyrighted material has the right to decide who can:

  • make a copy of the work, which includes photocopies and digital copies
  • publish copies or electronically distribute the work
  • perform or display the work in public
  • prepare derivative works, which means using the original work as the basis for a new work.

What can you do if your copyrighted material is posted on a website without your permission or attribution?

  1. Send an email message to the owner of the website and ask them to remove it.
  2. Send a formal DMCA takedown notice to the owner of the website, the web hosting company and/or its advertisers.

There is a sample DMCA Takedown Notice here.


Tangible Form

Tangible form may include anything written on paper, saved to disk (web pages, graphics on the web, electronic mail messages or computer programs, or saved on any audio/video device.


No Copyright Protection

Some items are NOT protected by copyright, such as...

  • ideas, facts, titles, names, procedures, html coding and works not fixed in tangible form
  • items in the public domain (anything published before 1923)
  • government works, such as judicial opiniions, public ordinances and administrative rulings
  • common knowledge


Creative Commons License


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