Thursday, June 16, 2005

Copyright FAQs

Starting with the basics, what does copyright actually protect? Copyright protects "original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed."

If there is no copyright symbol, is a work still protected? Assume that a work is protected unless you have clear evidence that it's in the public domain. U.S. law does not require the copyright symbol © to be posted.

Can I freely use information that I found on the web? "The original authorship appearing on a website may be protected by copyright. This includes writings, artwork, photographs, and other forms of authorship protected by copyright." See Copyright Registration for Online Works.

Am I allowed to e-mail an article to my co-workers or post it on the Internal web site? The answer to this question depends on how you obtained the article and what use rights accompany the article.

If the answer to many of my questions is, "It depends," how do I know what I'm allowed to copy or use? Ask the owner of the copyright. "If you know who the copyright owner is, you may contact the owner directly. If you are not certain about the ownership or have other related questions, you may wish to request that the Copyright Office conduct a search of its records or you may search yourself. " You can also contact a licensing representative such as the Copyright Clearance Center.

The quoted sections of this FAQ were obtained from the U.S. Copyright Office.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

The stuff you purloined from the Copyright Office is NOT copyrighted! It's in the public domain. I think that's a fun little factoid