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Copyright & Fair Use   Tags: copyright, fair use, fair use checklist  

Getting to know your rights and responsibilities regarding copyright law
Last Updated: Jan 23, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Public Domain

What's in the Public Domain?

  • Works for which the the term of copyright has expired (See the Copyright Slider below)
  • Works The author failed to satisfy statutory formalities to protect the copyright
  • The work is a work of the US Federal Government
  • The work has been assigned by the copyright holder to the public domain

The Copyright Slider provides details about when items first printed in the United States pass into the public domain



For Further Reading

Cover Art
Copyright Law for Librarians and Educators - Kenneth D. Crews
Call Number: 346.7304 C927c
ISBN: 9780838910924
Publication Date: 2011-01-01

Cover Art
Copyright for Schools - Carol Simpson
Call Number: 346.730482 S613c5
ISBN: 9781586833930
Publication Date: 2010


The Fundamentals

Copyright Ownership:

The copyright clause of the Constitution gives Congress the power to grant authors exclusive rights to their writings in order to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts” (article 1, section 8, clause 8). The primary purpose of copyright is to foster the dissemination of intellectual works for the public welfare. Giving authors exclusive rights to their works for a limited period of time is seen as a way of rewarding them for their contribution to society. 

U.S. copyright law is found in the Copyright Act, Title 17 of the US Code. These exclusive rights set forth in section 106 of Title 17 include the rights to do, and to authorize others to do, the following:

  • Reproduce copies of the work
  • Distribute copies of the work to the public
  • Create derivative works based on the work
  • Perform the work publicly in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audio­ visual works. In the case of sound recordings to do so by digital transmission
  • Display the work publicly in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audio­ visual work


 Copyright does not apply to the following

  • Facts
  • Ideas
  • Processes or procedures
  • Concepts
  • Principles
  • Systems or methods of operation
  • Discoveries

Copyright Guide

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Kristin Freda
    Bank Street College of Education Library
    610 West 112th Street,
    New York, NY 10025
    Contact: Research Guides Admin

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