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Copyright & Public Domain: Home

This guide discusses the basics of copyright for students.

The Basics

Copyright Basics

What is copyright?

• Copyright is federal law under Title 17 of the United States Code.

• It gives authors the right to control the use of their works.

• A copyrighted work must be "fixed in a tangible medium," meaning other people must be able to read, see, or hear the expression. 

Why is it important?

• It encourages the dissemination of knowledge.

• It protects authors, inventors, and creators' rights to reproduce and market their works within a specific time frame. 

How long does copyright last?

• The current term is the life of the author plus 70 years. 

• If it is a corporate author the term is 95 years from the date of the first publication or 120 years from the date of creation (whichever comes first). 

• For more information about copyright terms, please see this chart by the Cornell Copyright Information Center. 

Overall: works protected by copyright cannot be copied, used, or modified in any way without asking permission. 

Librarian

Jeannette Glover's picture
Jeannette Glover
Contact:
Russell Learning Resource Center
23235 N. County Highway 22
Canton, IL 61520
(309) 649-6603

Creator Attribution

Created by Marla Turgeon