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A clearinghouse of information about copyright for Brenau University faculty, staff, and students

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Copyright protection covers both published and unpublished works as well as out-of-print materials.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

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.