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Film Studies 460: The Civic Life Project   Tags: civic life, copyright, creative commons, fair use  

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014 URL: Print Guide

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What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S . Code) to the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works, and is granted automatically from the moment of creation.

  • Copyright Basics
    Definitions from the United States Copyright Office.
  • Copyright Basics
    Very clear and comprehensible definitions from the libraries of the University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Copyright Crash Course
    From the Copyright Management Center at the University of Texas.

What is fair use?

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

The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

From U.S. Copyright Office - Fair Use

Subject Guide

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Colette Lunday Brautigam
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Wriston Art Center 213
Phone: (920) 993-6043
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