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Copyright: Basics

This is a guide to copyright information, best practices and resources for the Colby College Community.

Legal Disclaimer

This guide is informational only, and should not be construed as legal advice.

Your Copyright Liaison

Copyright Basics

The U.S. Copyright Law was enacted to promote the progress of science and useful arts through through laws which protect creative works, allow for their dissemination and use, and promote the transformation of existing works into new creative work.

Members of the Colby College community are authors and creators of original works; authors are granted Exclusive Rights under the U.S. Copyright Law. Faculty, students and staff use copyrighted material in teaching, classroom assignments and research; Fair Use and other Limitations on Exclusive Rights allow for legal uses of copyrighted material.

What is Copyright

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law (Title 17, U.S. Code) that provides authors & creators with certain controls over the reproduction and distribution of their work. Copyright holders have exclusive rights to:

  • reproduce the work, in whole or in part
  • distribute copies of the work
  • publicly perform the work
  • publicly display the work
  • prepare derivative works based on the original, such as translations or adaptations

What does copyright protect?

Copyright protects original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works. Works of authorship include:

  • literary works;
  • musical works, including any accompanying words;
  • dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
  • pantomimes and choreographic works;
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works
  • sound recordings; and
  • architectural works.

Adapted from: U.S. Copyright Office, Circular 1, Copyright Basics.

Many Aspects of Copyright

Copyright Law & Trusted Guides

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