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Copyright Fundamentals: What is Copyright?

What is Copyright?

Copyright encourages creativity and scholarship by protecting a creator's right to prevent unauthorized use of his or her work.

All works created in the United States are automatically copyrighted. That's right! Even if a work is unpublished and does not contain a notice of copyright ©, it is still protected under copyright law. There are some exceptions, such as works in the public domain.

Fortunately, copyright law offers provisions with authors and educators in mind. There are several ways in which educators can use copyrighted material that are within the bounds of the law.

Use the tabs above to learn about the following topics:

   For the Classroom
   Online/TEACH Act

   Fair Use

   Creative Commons

   Public Domain

Please note that this guide is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as legal advice.

Copyright on Campus Video by Copyright Clearance Center



Large copyright sign made of jigsaw puzzle pieces by Horia Varlan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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