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Copyright & Fair Use

Understanding the ins and outs of copyright is challenging. The best advice is usually to know where to find the information when you need it, which is why we've compiled this research guide.



What is Copyright?

What is Copyright?


Copyright has deep roots. The authors of the Constitution sought to secure exclusive intellectual property protections for “Authors and Inventors” but in the same statement indicated “for limited Times.” (United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8)

To paraphrase, copyright law grants and protects rights of an author or creator to do a range of things with their copyrighted content: make copies, derive something else from the original, to sell, rent, lease, copies, to transfer the copyright to a new owner, to perform something (if it’s the kind of creative work that lends itself to performance), to put the work out for public display, or to disseminate content digitally. (Tıtle 17 of the United States Code, §106)

In other words, copyright gives the author or creator a great deal of control over their intellectual property. Copyright extends to a variety of intellectual property such as works of literature, drama, art, choreography, sound recordings, motion pictures, and architecture. Patents comprise a different genre of intellectual property protection as the rights of patent are granted by a government or intergovernmental agency.

A Few Qualifications

Qualifications for copyright


In order for something to be copyrighted it has to be created in a fixed or tangible medium -- from a stone table to Twitter. An idea can’t be copyrighted and a poem written on a napkin may not suffice. The creation must be in a “sufficiently permanent or stable” medium so that it can be “perceived, reproduced or otherwise communicated for more than a ‘transitory duration’.”

Violations of Copyright

violations of Copyright


Copyright protects the intellectual property of an author and promotes creative expression by assuring security of an author's work including its attribution and economic and other value that may accrue from the author's work. There can be consequences if copyright is violated. As in other violations of the law, “I didn’t know,” does not constitute a viable defense.

It is important for members of the Taylor University community to be aware of copyright and fair use basics in order to abide by the legal requirements of copyright and to respect the intellectual property of others. Beyond the framework of federal law, members Taylor University subscribe to the Life Together Covenant in which are expressed and implied that a community member practice personal integrity and respect for others, from which can be inferred that a member of the University community will not knowingly and willfully misappropriate the intellectual property of others.

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