Skip to main content

Copyright Student Guide: Copyright

The purpose of this Guide is to provide resources that assist students in understanding the basics of copyright and the general ways to avoid infringement.

Definition: Copyright Act

The United States Copyright Act protects original works from being used without permission from its owner.  The protections applies automatically, at the moment of the work's creation.

Copyright law protects literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, including poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software and architecture.

Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these concepts are expressed.

Legal penalties for copyright infringement may include financial consequences (from $200 to $150,000 for each individual act of infringement) and jail time.

Alternatives to Infringement

Alternatives to copyright infringement include: 

  1. Obtaining permissions from the copyright owner (which may include royalty payments and various terms and conditions).
     
  2. Utilizing work not protected by copyright law (i.e., public domain works).
     
  3. Linking to LIU Library's licensed resources including electronic databases and e-books.
     
  4. Evaluating the usage according to fair use principles.
     
  5. Utilizing work that is within the terms of a license agreement, including royalty free works or the "some rights reserved" approach to copyright offered by Creative Commons

Copyright Resources

Copyright Flowchart

http://langwitches.org/blog/2014/06/10/copyright-flowchart-can-i-use-it-yes-no-if-this-then/