Copyright is a legal right, grounded in the United States Constitution, that gives the owner of copyright in a work the exclusive right to:
Original works, whether or not published, that exist in a tangible medium that can be touched, seen, heard, read and fall into one of the following categories are protected by copyright.
Copyright applies to a wide variety of works including, but not limited to:
These works are protected from the moment they are in a fixed format regardless of whether they contain a copyright notice or copyright has been registered.
Items not protected include, but are not limited to:
Digital Copyright Slider -Developed by Michael Brewer & ALA Office for Information Technology Policy, this tool can help you determine the copyright status of a work.
The following works are in the public domain and can be used by anyone for any legal purpose without permission.
Unless you are sure a work you find on a website falls into one of these four categories, you must assume the work is protected by copyright. See Using Copyrighted Material.
Determining copyright terms and what is in the public domain can be difficult; this site is an informational starting point.
With permission: Terry Owen and Andrew Horbal, University of Maryland Libraries
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