Copyright, n. 1. A property right in an original work of authorship (such as a literary, musical, artistic, photographic, or film work) fixed in any tangible medium of expression, giving the holder the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, and display the work. 2. Body of law relating to such works. * Federal copyright law is governed by the Copyright Act of 1976. 17 USCA SS 101-1332.
~Black's Law Dictionary, 7th ed.
~ by the United States Copyright Office
Copyright duration rules differ:
1. Materials created today: copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years.
2. Materials created before 1978: 75 year maximum.
3. Materials made for hire, published anonymously, or under a psuedonym: 95 years from the publication date or 120 years from creation date, whichever came first.
4. Unpublished works (ancient and recent): copyright lasts the life of the author plus 70 years.
Works in the public domain may be used freely without the permission of the former copyright owner. A work of authorship is in the “public domain” if it is no longer under copyright protection.
The Digital Copyright Slider can help you to determine if a work may be in the public domain. The slider was created by Michael Brewer and the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy.
Ask the Author
An author may grant limited use of his or her copyrighted material. Direct contact with an author may help you to resolve questions of use.
The Copyright Information Guide is provided by the University Libraries as an educational service to the University community. The information contained in this guide is not legal advice. Individuals and organizations should consult the Wright State University Office of the General Counsel or their own attorney.