Copyright is protection provided by law (17, U.S. Code §102) to the authors/creators of “original works of authorship,” expressed in any tangible medium of expression. This protection is available for original works from the moment they are created in a tangible medium, and it applies whether they are published, unpublished, or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.
Copyright protection is available for an author/creator if three requirements are met:
Most original works are protected by copyright. The U.S. Copyright law places copyrightable works in the following categories:
You should view these categories broadly. For example, computer programs and most compilations may be categorized and registered as literary works; maps and architectural plans may be categorized and registered as pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works.
Section 106 of the U.S. copyright law gives the owner of a copyright the exclusive rights to do and to authorize others to do the following:
The rights of the copyright owner are, in some instances, limited as several sections of the U.S. Copyright Law have established limitations on these rights. However, unless one or more of the limitations (exemptions) apply, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted works in any of the listed ways.
The copyright owner is the person or entity who owns the exclusive rights mentioned above. The copyright owner could be the author, the publisher, or another person or entity having legal ownership of one or more of the exclusive rights described above.
Remember, it is both dishonest and illegal for a person to violate any rights of the copyright owner.
Copyright protection does not extend to the following; therefore, copyright permission is not required for you to use them. They are part of the public domain.
Content from this page was adapted from Carl Johnson's Copyright libguide at Brigham Young University and Nate Wise's Copyright libguide at Brigham Young University Idaho.