Copyright: "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right ....."
The following is a collection of resources to assist students with copyright, including how to cite resources, copyright law, and other relevant websites.
- Copyright and Fair Use  (Stanford University) - focus on digital environment
- Marie A. D'Amico's Cyberspace Law  - encompasses music, domain names, patents & trademarks, Internet, privacy, e-mail
Intellectual property and copyright are partners; copyright automatically protects intellectual property. Under the 1976 Copyright Law-which is our current mandate with some updates-the purpose was to encourage and stimulate as many creative and scientific works as possible as an overall 'good' for society. The economic reward was the exclusive rights to the creative work for a limited period of time.
Section 106 of the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act grants the copyright owner exclusive rights in the following areas:
- Reproduction-The right to reproduce the work.
- Adaptation-The right to create and produce derivative works based on the original piece.
- Distribution-The right to distribute copies.
- Performance-The right to perform the work publicly.
- Display-The right to display and transmit the work publicly.
The limiting parts in these granted rights depends on various factors, such as when the work was created, published, or if there is existing copyright. There is no longer a requirement to apply for copyright registration , but it is in the best interests of the creator who wants full protection of the law against illegal infringement.
The Internet has been characterized as the most significant threat to copyright since the 1976 law was enacted. The Internet is a vast storehouse of information containing varying options of use: free or public domain, by permission or not, by citing, or by Fair Use. Most everything on the Net is protected by copyright: novels, articles, screenplays, graphics, pictures, photographs, software, news articles, databases, and e-mail.
Copyright applies only to "original works of authorship" that are "fixed in any tangible medium of expression." Exceptions to this are ideas, known facts and government information.
The law broadly defines copyright protection and then provides a number of exceptions to the copyright owners' exclusive rights. The best known exception is 'fair use.' There are four factors to be considered in a 'fair use' analysis in making a determination of what constitutes 'fair use':
- Purpose and Character of Use-Is it of a commercial nature or for nonprofit educational purposes?
- Nature of Copyrighted Work-Is this worthy of copyright protection?
- Relative Amount-How much and of what quality or importance was copied?
- Effect Upon Potential Market-What is the extent of harm to the market of the original work caused by the infringement?
The last factor is the one most often cited as the most important factor in determining 'fair use'-and that is because it involves money. Has it harmed or weakened the marketability of the work? The legal boundary between what is considered 'fair use' and infringement is often blurred and subjective. 
Web sites - comprehensive
- Copyright and Art Issues  (University of Oregon) - guidelines, policies, useful Web sites
- Copyright Clearance Center  - permissions & licensing services
- Cyberlaw Encyclopedia  (Alan Gahtan, LLP) - copyright law including articles, cases, organizations, treaties, and more...
- Franklin Pierce Law Center  - indepth copyright, patent / trademark information site
- The Copyright WebSite  (Benedict Mahoney) encompasses the basics, visual arts, digital arts, audio arts and more...
- Using Software: A Guide to the Ethical and Legal Use of... (EDUCOM & ITAA) - as it applies to academia
- American Library Association  (Ken Crews)
- Association of Research Libraries  (history)
- Laura Gasaway  (comparison chart)
- UT-Austin 
Overview of U.S. copyright law from 1790-1996  - (Association of Research Libraries) - also contains summaries from major court cases of interest to academia.
Patents and Trademarks
Patent - is a grant of a property right to an invention by the government to the inventor thru the Patent and Trademark Office-maximum grant is 20 years. The inventor holds the right to exclude others from making or using, offering for sale or importing the invention.
Trademark - is concerned with a name, word, symbol, or type of device that indicates a source of goods or services and that distinguishes them from others' goods and services. A trademark is not a trade name*
Searching Patents & Trademarks
- Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program  - U.S. library depositories for patents and trademarks
- Patent and Trademark Information  (University of Texas-Austin) - excellent site - includes tutorials
- Spire Project - includes free databases, national agency resources, commercial databases
- U.S. Patent and Trademark office  - comprehensive - includes tutorials
- Worldwide Patent Offices  - also patent search sites, associations, and more...*Shane, Jackie C. "Patent and Trademark Searching on the Web: Some Cautionary Advice." Science and Technology Libraries, Vol. 18 (4) (2000): 83-91.
- Institute Policies and Procedures Manual  (RIT)
- Rochester Institute of Technology  (RIT) - use of copyrighted materials
- Students' Rights and Responsibilities Handbook  (RIT)
- Wallace Library Course Reserves  - fair use of electronic course materials
- Copyright Crash Course Online Tutorial (University of Texas system) - created for online learning - includes test
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License .
Maintained by: Marianne Buehler