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Copyright is a law that grants exclusive, limited rights to creators of original works (title 17, U. S. Code). The principle behind copyright lies in the U.S. Constitution where, "The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries" (United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8).

Copyright law grants to the rights holder the rights to:

  • reproduce or copy the work
  • make derivative works
  • distribute copies by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
  • perform the work publicly
  • display the work publicly
  • perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission

(See Copyright Basics by the United States Copyright Office)

Additional Resources

Copyright FAQ for Professors - Association of Research Libraries
Georgia State University Copyright Overview
Stanford University Libraries Copyright and Fair Use Overview
United States Copyright Office