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Penrose Library

Copyright @ Whitman: Understanding Copyright

Why are Materials Copyrighted?

Copyright is a concept which promotes the development of creative ideas by granting creators a limited monopoly to their work.

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Rights to their respective Writings and Discoveries."


Copyright Basics (United States Copyright Office)

Copyright (United State Copyright Office)

Crash Course in Copyright (Copyright Management Center, University of Texas)

How Is Copyright Secured?

Copyright is secured immediately when an original work is created in a fixed or tangible form.  Under current law, a copyright notice is not required.

Works may be registered with the United States Copyright Office.  Doing so enables a copyright holder to sue for damages if infrigement occurs.

How Long Does Copyright Last?

Works created after January 1, 1978 are protected by copyright for the life of the creator, plus 70 years.

Copyright protection for works created before January 1, 1978 varies.  Tools are available to help determine if a work has entered the public domain.

Most works created in the United States before 1923 are no longer protected by copyright.

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