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Copyright resources

Copyright Basics

Copyright law provides a set of rights to the authors of original works, which can include literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, audiovisual, and other works like software. These rights are automatically given to works upon creation, regardless of publication status. Copyright can be transferred in part or all to another person or entity with written consent.

Copyright grants these exclusive rights:

  • to reproduce the work
  • to prepare derivative works (creating an adaptation or translation)
  • to distribute copies publicly
  • to perform the work publicly
  • to display the work publicly
  • in the case of sound recording, to perform the work publicly as a digital audio transmission

There are some exceptions to copyright law, such as Fair Use, Library Use, Right of First Sale, and the TEACH Act. You can read about those on the Fair Use and Other Exceptions tab.

Users who violate copyright law can be held liable for copyright infringement.