What does copyright protect?
Under 17 USCS Section 102 the following is protected:
Copyright is format agnostic. It applies to to both print and digital content. i.e., "a fixed and tangible medium".
Who owns the copyright?
- Derived from the Rebecca P. Butler's 2014 Copyright for Academic Librarians and Professionals
How long does copyright last?
Depending on when a work was created, it may or may not be protected by copyright. Consult the American Library Association's Digital Copyright Slider to see if what you want to use is in the public domain or if it is still covered by copyright.
The public domain refers to works that are not copyright protected and can be used freely, without seeking permission. It is important to always check carefully to determine if a particular work is really in the public domain before assuming you may use it without permission.
The following are examples of public domain works:
What does the right of "first sale" mean?
The first sale doctrine allows people who legally purchase copyrighted works to sell or dispose of them as they see fit, with some exceptions. For example, the doctrine lets you loan a legally purchased book or CD to a friend. Libraries have long relied on the first sale doctrine to lend materials to their patrons.
The first sale doctrine was enacted during a time when most copyrighted works were produced in physical formats that made such works difficult to reproduce on a large scale. Many protected works including books are now produced digitally, however, copyright owners have lobbied Congress for new laws that some feel may undermine the "first sale" doctrine.
The first sale doctrine was created when copyrighted works were mostly physical objects that were hard to copy. Today, many protected works, such as books, are digital, and copyright holders have asked Congress for new laws that could weaken the first sale doctrine.
First sale issues are intertwined with licensing and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) issues. To learn more about the DMCA, please see the American Library Association's Introduction to the DMCA.
Portions of this guide were derived from the Copyright Guide at Butler University Libraries.