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The purpose of this research guide is to provide faculty, staff, and students at Shippensburg University with an understanding of copyright law and fair use. While copyright issues can be complex, everyone needs to understand the basics. Failure to comply with copyright law can lead to substantial legal penalties.
Copyright law, as defined in Title 17 of the United States Code, protects "original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression" for a limited period.
Copyright protection includes, for instance, the legal right
to publish and sell literary, artistic, or
musical work, and copyright protects authors, publishers and producers,
and the public. Copyright applies both to traditional media (books,
records, etc.) and to digital media (electronic journals, web sites,
etc.). Copyright protects the following eight categories of works:
pantomimes and choreographic works
pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works
motion pictures and other audiovisual works
Ownership of a copyrighted work includes the
right to control the use of that work. Use of such work by others
during the term of the copyright requires either permission
from the author or reliance on the doctrine of fair use. Failure to do
one or the other will expose the user to a claim of copyright
infringement for which the law provides remedies including payment of
money damages to the copyright owner.