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Copyright guidance and information for the Franklin University community

What is Copyright?

Copyright Dictionary Definition Image

Copyright refers to the exclusive legal rights granted by the government to a creator (such as an author, editor, compiler, composer, playwright, or publisher) to publish, produce, sell, or distribute copies of a literary, musical, dramatic, artistic, or other work.

In the United States, copyright exists under the United States Constitution, Art. I, §8 "[t]o promote the progress of science and useful arts."1 The copyright law, enacted by Congress, is contained in Title 17 of the U.S. Code.2

Footnote 1:

Footnote 2:

What is Protected?

Copyright protection is broad. Under 17 U.S.C. §102, copyright applies to "original works of authorship" that are "fixed in any tangible medium of expression . . . from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated."3 The term "authorship" does not limit copyright to books -- copyright applies to a broad range of works, including books, plays, movies, music, choreography, and architectural works.

Copyright protects a work in the specific form in which it is created, not the idea, theme, or concept expressed in the work, which others are free to interpret in a different way.

Footnote 3:

What Rights Does a Copyright Owner Have?

Under 17 U.S.C. §106, the owner of a copyright has certain exclusive rights to the use of the copyrighted material, including the rights

  1. "to reproduce" the work;
  2. "to prepare derivative works";
  3. "to distribute copies";
  4. "to perform" the work;
  5. "to display the copyrighted work publicly"; and
  6. to perform "sound recordings . . . publicly by means of a digital audio transmission."4

Footnote 4:

Video: "A Fair(y) Use Tale"

"A Fair(y) Use Tale" is a video created by Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University which applies fair use and uses clips of Disney movies to explain copyright.

Video: "Copyright Basics"

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