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This guide is to inform you about about some basic copyright issues. It does not constitute legal advice in any manner.

Copyright Basics

What is copyright?

Copyright protects original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical and certain other intellectual works. It is the expression of the work, not the idea or concept, that is protected by copyright. In addition, this protection covers both published and unpublished works. Copyright protection exists from the moment a work is fixed in a tangible form of expression. Copyright is the right granted by law to an author or creator to control the use of the work created. This allows the owner of the copyrighted material to:

  • Make copies
  • Distribute copies (including using the Internet)
  • Prepare derivative works based on the original work
  • Perform the work publicly
  • Display the work publicly

What is protected?

Under the  Copyright Act , Section 102 the following is protected:

  • Literature
  • Music and Lyrics
  • Drama
  • Pantomime and dance
  • Pictures, graphics and sculpture
  • Films
  • Sound recordings
  • Architecture
  • Software

What is a copy?

  • a copy is a reproduction of an original work.  Here are some examples of what would be considered a copy:
  • A Photocopy of a printed work
  • A video recording of a broadcast television show
  • A song burned onto a CD of downloaded to a device (i.e Ipod)
  • A scan of a printed work or image
  • A duplicate backup of a software program burned to a CD/DVD or flash drive

Is linking copying?

Linking to an image or public website is not copying.  Linking to an online web page, image or document is just leading the viewer to that available resource.  While you should still cite and give attribution to the owner of the website, it is not usually required to request permission to link to the webiste. 

Copyright Clearance Center

Direct link to the CCC.  Here you can find information on copyright, including any fees for permission.

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