Copyright at Eastern Michigan University
The following information is to provide the Eastern Michigan University community with a basic understanding of copyright law and fair use. It is everyone's responsibility to stay up to date on current copyright law and legislation and their effect on our classrooms and research.
Material presented here is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Specific legal questions pertaining to Eastern Michigan University should be directed to the Office of Legal Affairs, 11 Welch Hall, (734)487-1055.
Also see Library Copyright Policy and Guidelines.
Basic Copyright Principles
What is Copyright?
Copyright is a Federal Law, Title 17, U.S. Code, that provides: “a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States to the authors or “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.” The Copyright Revision Act of 1976 provides most of the current laws we follow today.
What does it do for you?
Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act gives the owner of a work, the following rights:
- To display the work publicly
- To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords
- To prepare derivative works based upon the work
- To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the pubic by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental lease or lending
- To perform the work publicly by means of a digital-audio transmission
Since 1989 a work is protected as soon as it is created. Notice is no longer required, nor is registration. You cannot copyright ideas, facts, titles, names, short phrases or blank forms.
Works in the public domain may be freely used.
The U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress, provides informational brochures on the copyright law and how it applies to various formats, i.e. music, art, etc.