Copyright grants its holder the sole legal right to copy works of
original expression, such as literary works, movies, musical works,
sound recordings, paintings, computer programs, or industrial designs,
for a defined period of time.
Copyright only pertains to ideas that are in a tangible form. An
idea for a movie may not be copyright protected but a screenplay is
What is Fair Use?
Title 17, Section 107 of the United States Code is the fair use
doctrine. This doctrine provides that certain uses of copyrighted works
for purposes such as "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching,
scholarship or research" are permitted without copyright permission.
The points to consider in order to determine fair use are:
- Purpose and character of the use--educational use is permitted
or creative nature of the original work--facts such as statistical
tables are permitted; a creative analysis of statistics is not
- Amount and substantive value of the work being
copied relative to the work as a whole--a general rule of thumb is
that no more than 20% of an original work may be copied
of the use on the market for, or value of, the copyrighted work--materials may not be sold or copied and distributed for free.
What is Public Domain?
- Materials in the public domain are free of copyright restrictions
- Public domain may include information, knowledge, discoveries, and
artistic creation never or no longer protected by copyright
published before 1923 or published after 1923 with no copyright notice
or no renewed copyright notice may be in the public domain