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This LibGuide provides links to resources about copyright and "fair use" of copyrighted materials. It was initially created to help faculty decide what materials they could include in their in-person, online, and hybrid courses. It is provided for your information but has not been approved by a lawyer. The ARL guidelines found in the "Know Your Copy Rights" brochure will be referred to below have been legally vetted.
Copyright law has several purposes. It's designed to help authors control the use of their work in order to get credit for, and profit from, that work. This means that the author has the first right to copy their material and to distribute it. It's also designed to move intellectual property into the public domain eventually, so that society at large can profit from these materials.
Copyrights are established the moment the idea is expressed in tangible form, whether or not that expression is digital or in-print. If you want to sue for copyright infringement, however, you'll need to register (for a $35 fee) your work with the U.S. Copyright office. This can be done after the work is expressed.
Copyright allows authors to license their content however they want. In the online world, many authors are moving toward a collaborative and open model of publishing their work. Because they own their copyright, they can license their materials under any combination of CreativeCommons Licenses, which allow them to participate in the collaborative online culture that may add value and increase usage of their works. These licenses are free to use and allow the author to control how the work can be shared, reused (or not), and incorporated in the digital world. These CreativeCommons licenses form the legal basis for "open educational resources", "open textbooks", and "open access journals".
The Association of Research Libraries provides an up-to-date interpretation of Copyright and Fair Use in their brochures...
A case that has been going on since 2009 pits several publishers against the Georgia State University faculty members that it claims violated their copyrights through the incorporation of copyrighted materials into their courses. ....