Copyright and Fair Use: The Basics

Resources for Basic Copyright Information

Notice! This is NOT legal advice.

Please be advised: Information and/or links provided on this site are not and do not constitute legal advice and are for informational purposes only.  Seek legal advice from a licensed attorney to address any legal questions or concerns.

Copyright Law

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Copyright in the United States


"Works of Authorship"


Writing (formal and informal), Laboratory notes, Literature, Internet pages, PowerPoint™ slides or other presentation files, computer programs

Music (written or recorded)

Art and most images including photographs and computer-generated images 


But it MUST be original and fixed

and it might include some elements (such as data) that is NOT copyrighted

generally for the life of the author + 70 years*

For more details see Circular 92: Copyright Law of the United States
Sections 102 - 104 (Subject matter of copyright)
*Sections 302 - 305 (Duration of copyright)

What is not covered by COPYRIGHT in the United States


Ideas that have not been "fixed"

Presentations that have not been recorded

These should be attributed to the creator or generator even when they have never been written down or plagiarism becomes an issue.

"Works of Authorship"

Inventions == protected by Patent Law

Business and product names == protected by Trademark Law

Trade secrets == protected by contracts and Trade Secret Law

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