This is the "Introduction to Copyright" page of the "Copyright" guide.
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Copyright   Tags: copyright, fair use  

A clearinghouse of information about copyright for Brenau University faculty, staff, and students
Last Updated: Jan 4, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Introduction to Copyright Print Page

What is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to authors. The owner of copyright has the exclusive right to do and authorize the following:

  • To reproduce the work;
  • To prepare derivative works based upon the work;
  • To distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
  • To prohibit other persons from using the work without permission;
  • To perform the work publicly.

Copyright protection covers both published and unpublished works as well as out-of-print materials. 

Facts, ideas, procedures, processes, systems, concepts, principles or discoveries cannot be copyrighted.  However, some of these can be protected by patent or trade secret laws.

Copyright protection currently lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.  If there is more than one author copyright protection lasts for the life of the last author's death plus 70 years.  Copyright protection for materials created by a business may last for 95 years from publication.  

More information can be found in this PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office.


Books on Copyright

Cover Art
The Digital Rights Movement - Hector Postigo
ISBN: 9780262305334
Publication Date: 2012-01-01

Cover Art
The Creative Artist's Legal Guide - Bill Seiter
ISBN: 0300183542
Publication Date: 2012-01-01

Cover Art
Invention, Copyright, and Digital Writing - Martine Courant Rife
ISBN: 0809330962
Publication Date: 2013-01-30

Cover Art
Composition and Copyright - Steve Westbrook
ISBN: 9781441612298
Publication Date: 2009-01-01


About this Guide

Welcome to the Brenau Trustee Library's copyright clearinghouse. Our goal is to provide resources on the nature of copyright and Fair Use to assist students, faculty, and staff in making informed decisions. This guide contains background on copyright, tools to help you assess Fair Use, and provides information on using sources in your classroom and projects.

Questions about Copyright?

(image "20 questions 1954" by DuMont Television/Rosen Studios, New York-photographer.Uploaded by We hope at en.wikipedia - eBay itemphoto frontphoto back. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

If you have a specific question about copyright or Fair Use, please let us know! Although we are not a replacement for legal counsel, our librarians are equipped to provide resoures on copyright issues.


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