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Copyright and Fair Use: Copyright Overview

A primer on the U.S. Copyright Act and Fair Use.

Copyright Questions?

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This guide provides a basic primer about copyright and fair use for instruction.  If you have specific questions, please e-mail copyright@uic.edu.

Disclaimer

These pages were created to provide basic copyright information and are not a substitute for legal advice.

Warning Concerning Copyright and Other Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

The University Library reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law or other restrictions, including, but not limited to privacy rights, donor agreements, and preservation considerations.

Copyright is. . .

Protection that is provided by law (title 17, U.S. Code) to the authors/creators of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works. 

Copyright laws were created to provide balance and protect the rights of creators and users of copyrighted content.

 

“Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. The term has come to mean that body of exclusive rights granted by law to authors for protection of their work.”

The protection is available to published and unpublished works.

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1a.html

Rights of the Copyright Owner

Section 106 of the U.S. copyright law grants the owner the exclusive right to:

  • reproduce the work
  • prepare derivative works based upon the work
  • distribute copies of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
  • perform the work publicly
  • display the copyrighted work publicly
  • in the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of digital audio transmission
  • in the case of a “work of visual art” the author has certain rights of attribution and integrity

See more on Author Rights.