UW-Extension Cooperative Extension
(Frequently Asked Questions)
You will learn how to:
Copyright is a form of protection granted by laws to authors/creators of original works “fixed in a tangible medium of expression.”Tangible media can include paper, web, film, sound recording, etc. Copyright gives creators a monopoly on rights to use and authorize use of their works for a certain amount of time (currently life of author plus 70 years) in order to encourage the creation of original works.
The right to:
Most materials that are fixed on a medium are automatically copyrighted, even if no copyright statement or symbol is on the work. Some examples of protected materials are: books, articles, websites, scribbles, software, paintings, photographs, graphics, architecture, films, music, and sound recordings.
Materials not protected are:
Remember: Placing a copyrighted work on the Internet does not enter it into the public domain.
See the Public Domain Chart for dates and terms of copyright protection.
Works go in the Public Domain and have no copyright protection:
While you can use public domain works without seeking permission, you must still cite them appropriately to avoid plagiarism.
Fair use is a specific part of the copyright law based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use limited portions of copyrighted works including quotes, “for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use) and scholarly reports,” U.S. Code Title 17 Chapter 1, Section 107. See also Circular 21, Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians.
The good faith application of fair use limits the liability of institutions and individuals. (See Section 504, Chapter 5, Title 17)
Use the four-factor test for fair use, which includes questioning:
If your intended use is outside of fair use, you must seek permission. Allow ample time for response(s) and have alternative materials ready to use if permission is denied or there is no response.