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Copyright Law: Overview

Copyright Law

A Copyright gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time under United States Code Title 17 (U.S.C. Title 17).  A copyright may apply to a wide range of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms, or "works."  Generally, it is "the right to copy", but it also gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work, to determine who may adapt the work to other forms, to whom may perform the work, to whom may financially benefit from it, and other related rights.  Copyrights can include poems, theses, plays, other literary works, movies, dances, musical compositions, audio recordings, paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, software, radio and television broadcasts, and industrial designs.

Copyright Basics Video

This video (6:19 minute) provides a simple explanation of copyrights and its many aspects through an animated cartoon.  The video discusses "how-to" copyright a product, restrictions and limitations of copyrighted material, fair use doctrine, some public domain aspects, etc.. It is a good place start if you have little knowledge about copyrights.

Other Intellectual Property LibGuides

The Law Library has several Intellectual Property LibGuides.

What can you Copyright?


Images  from MS Powerpoint Clipart Library 

Research Guides

If you are unfamiliar with the topic, you may find that a research guide or tutorial is a useful tool to assist you with your research.  We hope that you will find this guide helpful. 

You should review the date the research guide was last updated.  Using a research guides updated in the last year will help ensure you are relying on current information.  However, if you are conducting historical research, an older guide may be helpful.

Some of the most popular guides include:

1)  BYU Law Library: Copyright Law Research Guide. This J. Reuben Clark School of Law research guide provides its readers with a wide array of practical information concerning Copyright law.  This consolidated source offers numerous references to inform even the most novice researcher. (Last Updated March 2016)

2)  Gallagher Law Library: Research in Copyright Law. The University of Washington School of Law Copyright Research Guide focuses on primary and secondary sources of information about United States copyright law.  It includes a section covering primary and secondary sources on foreign and international copyright laws and treaties.  This guide is intended to be selective, rather than comprehensive. (Last Updated March 2015)

3) D'Angelo Law Library: Copyright Law Research Guide. The University of Chicago Law School Research Guide. This research guide covers the main treatises, caselaw research, resources for the U.S. law and legislative histories and other legal resources. (Last Updated Jan. 2016)

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