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Welcome to the Copyright Subject Guide
The sections in this Guide are designed to inform the TWU community on Copyright, Fair Use and related topics. It is not intended as legal advice nor is it meant to replace the advice of legal counsel.
Copyright protection exists from the moment a work is created in a fixed, tangible form of expression. The copyright immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work. Only the author, or those deriving their rights through the author, can rightfully claim copyright. In the case of works made for hire, the employer—not the writer—is considered the author.
-- Copyright Clearance Center
"In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work."
-- U.S. Copyright Office
The physical ownership of an item such as a book, painting, manuscript or CD is not the same as owning the copyright to the work embodied in that item.
Under the First Sale Doctrine (Section 109 of the Copyright Act), ownership of a physical copy of a copyright-protected work permits lending, reselling, disposing, etc., of the item. However, it does not permit reproducing the material, publicly displaying or performing it, or engaging in any of the acts reserved for the copyright holder. Why? Because the transfer of the physical copy does not transfer the copyright holder's rights to the work. Including an attribution on a copied work (for example, putting the author's name on it) does not eliminate the need to obtain the copyright holder's consent. To use copyrighted materials lawfully, you must secure permission from the applicable copyright holders or a copyright licensing agent.
--Copyright Clearance Center
Credit and thanks to Butler University Libraries and Access Services & Digital Commons Librarian, Brad Matthies who created the original version of this copyright guide adapted for use at TWU. Additionally, thanks to the following Universities for use of some of their copyright documentation: Stanford, San Jose State, Texas, Columbia, Michigan, Georgia, Cornell, Harvard, Xavier, Bucknell, and North Carolina.