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Scholarly Communication: Copyright

A guide to issues in scholarly communication, including publishing, open access, copyright, and author rights.

Copyright video

Copyright Law Defined

Copyright law (defined here) protects "original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression" for a time period. As an example, copyright protects the legal right to publish and sell musical, literary, or artistic works--and protects producers, publishers, authors, and the public. It works for both traditional media and digital media like e-journals and websites. Works protected by copyright include:

  • Literary works
  • Musical works
  • Motion pictures and other a/v works
  • Performances (dramatic works)
  • Pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
  • Sound recordings
  • Architectural works

Ownership of copyrighted work means that you have the right to control the use of that work, so use of the work by others either requires permission from the author, or copyright holder, or reliance on Fair Use. Failure to procure permission or usage under fair use would expose users to copyright infringement. Learn more at the U.S. Copyright website