Why is copyright so complicated?
The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but ‘[t]o
promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.' To this end, copyright assures authors
the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon
the ideas and information conveyed by a work. This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate.
It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co.
499 US 340, 349(1991)
It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure
that just ain't so.
Copyright is a cornerstone of academic work – it encompasses many aspects of scholarship and creative activities. But copyright seems to be a complex set of rules and exceptions – is there a way to make it easier to understand? This site describes and provides guidance in understanding the basic information on copyright in academic work and teaching.
Things to remember:
- Copyright is the law.
- Copyright gives specific rights to the owner.
- Ownership of copyright is not always clear.
- There are exceptions to what works can be copyrighted and when a copyrighted work can used without permission.
Questions? Contact the Libraries' Scholarly Communications Officer: Elizabeth Brown, (607) 777-4882.