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Copyright: Overview

Covers copyright and other areas of intellectual property


Why is it important to read this? What are examples of infringement?
  • To better understand copyright law and infringement
  • To protect you AND your school / place of employment
  • Downloading and sharing files of music, videos and games without the permission of the copyright holder.
  • Using corporate logos without permission.
  • Scanning an item, such as a photograph, that has been published and using it without permission or attribution.
  • Placing full-text articles on a web page and allowing the web page to be accessible to anyone who can access the Internet.
  • Downloading licensed software from non-authorized sites without the permission of the copyright or license holder.
  • Making a movie file or large segment of a movie available on a web site without permission of the copyright holder.
What is Copyright? What about using research for writing a paper or completing a project?
  • Copyright grants the creator a set of rights to protect their work:
    • The right to produce the work
    • The right to reproduce the work in copies
    • The right to perform the work publicly
    • The right to display the work
    • The right to broadcast the work digitally
  • US Copyright Law also protects the creator from OTHERS who might be doing the same without permission, attribution, or payment
  • Violating copyright law is known as infringement.
  • The Limitation of Fair Use provides exception to the rights of copyright holders in certain cases, allowing people to use portions of works for non-profit, academic, and other purposes provided those uses stay within certain bounds:
    • Purpose:
      Have you added something new, or merely copied?
    • Amount:
      Less is more! Restrictions apply to the "heart of the work".
    • Nature:
      Creative vs. factual
    • Effect:
      What will the user do to the work,

Adapted from "Copyright @ Brown: An overview for undergraduates” -


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