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Lee and Jim Vann Library

Subject Guides

Copyright Guide: About

This is a guide contains information about copyright.




Disclaimer: This guide does not provide legal advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice of legal counsel. This guide is simply a collection of resources about copyright.

About this Guide

Welcome to the Copyright LibGuide!

This guide is designed to share information on copyright and fair use in an educational setting and to provide guidance on finding and using materials in online, hybrid, and on-ground courses. The information on this guide is shared, with permission, from Butler University Libraries.

What is Copyright?

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a set of rights provided by the U.S. Constitution "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective writing and Discoveries" (Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution). 

So what does this mean?

Copyright provides a set of rights to the authors of "original works", which can include literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, audiovisual, and other works like software. These rights are given to works regardless of publishing status, so published and unpublished works are granted these rights, upon creation. It does not, however, protect ideas; it protects the expression of ideas. 

Copyright grants these exclusive rights:

  • to reproduce the work (i.e., to make copies)
  • to prepare derivative works (i.e., creating an adaptation, like making a movie from a book or translating a book from French to English)
  • to distribute copies publicly
  • to perform the work publicly
  • to display the work publicly
  • in the case of sound recording, to perform the work publicly as a digital audio transmission

Copyright can be transferred in part or all to another person or entity (like a publisher) with written consent. 

Some exceptions do apply, like fair use. If a person uses copyrighted material, where exceptions do not apply and without permission from the author, the user could be held liable for copyright infringement. Read through the "Exceptions" tab to learn more about the exceptions to copyright.



Kerri Killion-Mueller's picture
Kerri Killion-Mueller
Lee and Jim Vann Library
University of Saint Francis
2701 Spring Street
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46808
260-399-7700 ext. 6046


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