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Copyright FAQs

Page history last edited by LeAnn Suchy 6 years, 5 months ago

FAQs about Copyright


What is copyright? 

From Copyright.gov: "Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works."


For more general FAQs about copyright, visit Copyright.gov's Copyright in General page.


What is copyright notice?

From Copyright.gov: "A copyright notice is an identifier placed on copies of the work to inform the world of copyright ownership that generally consists of the symbol or word “copyright (or copr.),” the name of the copyright owner, and the year of first publication, e.g., ©2008 John Doe. While use of a copyright notice was once required as a condition of copyright protection, it is now optional. Use of the notice is the responsibility of the copyright owner and does not require advance permission from, or registration with, the Copyright Office."


What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons has created an infrastructure that allows creators to choose from a set of copyright licenses that they can attach to their works to allow their works to be used in the ways in which they see fit. This is an alternative to copyright licensing and the traditional "all rights reserved" concept.


For more about the different licenses, visit the Creative Commons website About the Licenses.


What is a derivative work?

From Chapter 1 of Copyright Law: "A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”."


For example making a movie that is based upon a play, the movie is the derivative work. Or translating a book from English to Spanish, the Spanish version is the derivative work.


What is fair use?

From Copyright.gov's Fair Use page: "Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Section 107 also sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular use is fair:

    1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
    2. The nature of the copyrighted work
    3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
    4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work


What is a mash-up?

A mash-up is a blending of two or more items, like two or more songs, videos, written words, etc.


What is a parody?

From Stanford's Copyright & Fair Use site: "A parody is a work that ridicules another, usually well-known work, by imitating it in a comic way. Judges understand that by its nature, parody demands some taking from the original work being parodied. Unlike other forms of fair use, a fairly extensive use of the original work is permitted in a parody in order to "conjure up" the original."


Weird Al is a great example of parody.


What is plagiarism?

Passing off someone else's work as your own, whether it's their language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions.


For more information on plagiarism, including safe practices and best practices for teachers, visit the Purdue OWL site on plagiarism.


What is public domain?

I like this quote from Chapter 8: The Public Domain of  the Stanford Library site - "When it comes to the public domain, there is no catch. If a book, song, movie or artwork is in the public domain, then it is not protected by intellectual property laws (such as copyright, trademark or patent law) --which means it's free for you to use without permission."

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