This guide is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice or guidance. If you have specific legal questions, please contact EMU's Legal Affairs Office.
What is copyright?
Copyright law provides a set of rights to authors/creators allowing them to benefit from their creations exclusively for a set time. Copyright law also includes exemptions so that the public can use copyright-protected works without the permission of the copyright holder.
A copyright holders have the right to:
What works are copyrightable?
There are 2 elements a work must possess to be copyrightable:
The following types of works are copyrightable:
Not all works are copyrightable. Ideas, concepts, procedures, and methods are not protected by copyright. U.S. federal government documents are not protected by copyright either.
How long does copyright last?
Once your work is in a physical form - a written work, a photo, or a computer file, it is protected by copyright. This is automatic; you do not need to do a thing.
However, your may want to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office:
You can register your works with the U.S. Copyright Office using their Registration Portal.
What about the copyright notice? Most people have seen the copyright notice ("©") on published materials, from books to websites. Adding the notice is not necessary. But feel free to add the notice to let others know the identity of the copyright holder.