This guide is informational only, and should not be construed as legal advice.
The U.S. Copyright Law was enacted to promote the progress of science and useful arts through through laws which protect creative works, allow for their dissemination and use, and promote the transformation of existing works into new creative work.
An interactive tool for learning about the Copyright protections materials produced in the USA. This tool can help you figure out whether the work you want to use is in the public domain.
What is copyright?
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law (Title 17, U.S. Code) that provides authors & creators with certain controls over the reproduction and distribution of their work. Copyright holders have exclusive rights to:
What does copyright protect?
Copyright protects original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. Works of authorship include:
Adapted from: U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 1, Copyright Basics.
Adapted with permission from Copyright LibGuide by Colby College Libraries.
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